After arriving in Huaraz, i was starting with paul (here his account of the trek) on a bus at five the next morning. A breakfast break in chiquián and a rather rough ride to llamac later, we were ready for our first day of hiking to the laguna jahuacocha and the first views of the snow capped mountains of the huayhuash range.
Even though the direct sunlight fades already in the afternoon while being in the valley, the light stays with one at least on the mountain tops for a good while longer.
And the rising sun creates a nice backlight in the early morning hours.
But the new morning also brought bad news. Paul’s stove was gone. Someone had taken it out of the tent’s vestibule during the night. After an initial phase of doubt what to do, we continued with the only difference being, that we had to do with fires from now on. (photo by paul)
This shepperd we met the day before. Then he had asked us for pain relieving pills for his knees and we couldn’t help him. Instead we offered him some of our clos wine this time in the hope it would help. (photo by paul)
We continued up valleys with the ever so beautiful changing play of light and shadow offered by the clouds.
While climbing up the passes, pausing to take a photo became a favourite for a quick breather. Paul in front of the panorama of huayhuash before cresting the yaucha pass.
Especially during the first half of the trek we were delighted to have such good weather and views were consequently amazing. Leaving the main trail soon after Huayllapa, we instead chose to explore a side valley and the area around laguna jurau. We left our tents and stuff at the campground close to the laguna and went on exploring without load on our shoulders and thus felt quite ready for more adventures. (photo by paul)
It turned out to be one of the most stunning sceneries in these already rich surroundings. Three blue lagoons nestled between the mountains. (photo by paul)
After returning to the camp and having lunch, we made our way to the san antonio pass, or so at least we thought. Being the pass shown in the official maps, we didn’t think it would be too difficult to find it. But after two hours of a fruitless search, we half angrily and half impatiently opted for the ‘we-will-find-our-own-way’ method. Though it was a difficult scramble uphill, it seemed we made good progress in the beginning. But when the light of the day was fading and the weather had turned really bad on us for the first time, a light rain soon had developed into a hail storm, we soon agreed, even if we would make it up the moutain, we would still be far from a suitable spot to camp or a source of water. So we retraced our steps to last night’s camp site. The downhill part being only slightly less exhausting, with the knees soon groaning and memories of the shepperd and his plee for pain relieving pills flashing through the mind in lack of more positive thoughts. Since the trip had, despite a stolen stove, been going really well, this was a bit of a sudden setback that had to be digested.
In the evening, while another attenpt to make fire went rather smootly, because we had carried fire-wood in our backpacks and thus were in possession of dry twigs, i thought i would not want to climb any passes the day to come. But already while lying in the sleeping bag a while later, the “why not” questions was making itself heard, and the crushing defeat, felt not long ago, had changed to a small mishap one could deal with easily.
While coping with the failed attempt in the evening, we both forget to stow away firewood and were only left with wet wood and no dry things to start a fire in the morning after a rainy night. Despite it taken us an hour to get a fire going and some effort to keep it alive, there was hardly any need to ask the question what the other wanted to do. After breakfast we packed up, climbed up to the laguna jurau and went on the lookout for the startpoint to another pass we had heard of by joshi, a fellow trekker we had met the day before. It took over an hour and some moaning on my part, at first not believing when paul was shouting down from the mountain that he had found the path. But some stone pyramids unquestionably pointed the way, along which the laguna kept us company…
almost until we crested the last pass on our circuit at punta cuyoc. (photo by paul)
All in all a tough but rewarding six days in the mountains. Despite a stolen stove, some tough weathers around the passes and one pass we never even found, we kept our chins up and could enjoy some of the most stunning scenery we’ve seen so far. Thanks to paul for asking and doing almost all the planning as i don’t know if i had undertaken this trip by myself. Now it is time for some rest days in huaraz and visits to the countless bakeries to regain some calories.