Thursday, March 24, 2011

Huaraz

After three weeks on the noisy beach in Huanchako, we decided to head a bit farther south and inland to the picturesque town of Huaraz for some peace and quiet. We made our way from sea-level to 3,700 meters elevation in a matter of 13 hours on a night-bus, and after a bumpy and windy cab ride up the side of a mountain, we landed at around 8 am at our freezing cold, glacier-surrounded hostel. Luckily, the owners were away on vacation and the place was pretty much empty when we arrived, so we were able to strike a pretty good deal with the volunteer staff on one of the best rooms in the place!





We spent our first day sleeping off the horribly long bus ride and adjusting to the altitude, but on our second morning, we were able to venture on one of the many trails mapped out around the hostel. We followed a trail along an open aqueduct up and over towards a glacier-fed river. Below you can see the aqueduct to the right and the glacier poking up between the two mountains off in the distance.






We were absolutely surrounded by the most breath-taking sights wherever we walked!




And then on the second evening, we had a beautiful sunset.



So beautiful, this was taken with our simple little point and shoot camera by Tyrone!



This is the side of our hostel on the same night. It is surrounded by a moat-like pond that harbours trout, which are then caught and fed to hungry travellers in the restaurant. We tried it once and it was actually pretty tasty! The volunteer staff was expected to cook for guests, but according to them they ¨didn't want people to pay for rubbish¨, so they hired a local chef in to cook gourmet meals every lunch and dinner! We had some of the best soups we had ever tasted.



On our third or fourth day in Huaraz, it was pretty cold and rainy, so it was found out by the volunteer staff that I am pretty good with a mixing bowl and oven. Entonces, I ended up making not one, but TWO batches of cookies because they were so good! I spent about 4 hours baking over 100 chocolate oatmeal raisin cookies for everyone at the hostel to share.



We finally got out that afternoon for a walk before I was asked to make a third batch of cookies! It must have been stick-bug mating season up in the Peruvian mountains, because we litterally stumbled upon hundreds of them. This group of bugs were just trying to keep each other warm... I swear...



There were two different kinds of stick bugs - the little one below looking most like a stick.



There were quite a few traditional thatch-roof homes in the area... I hope there is a chimney on the other side, as it gets quite cold at night in the mountains!



Tyrone couldn't resist climbing pretty much everything... but luckily, this made a great shot!



On our second to last day in Huaraz, we decided to take the long trail up and around one of the mountains to a little glacier lake. It was a beautiful and warm day, and along the way we ran into many locals, including these two cattle herders, below.




These two little boys and their puppy were in charge of herding the baby cattle!



Including this sweet little calf who reminded us of Norman from ¨City Slickers¨!





We just barely awoke this sleepy husky as we passed by his farm. Tyrone and I are hoping to get a husky one day... and Tyrone wants to name him ¨White Fang¨...



We took another path that was somewhat simpler, but much longer, to the other side of the snow-capped mountain, below.



About 2/3 the way up to the lake, we stopped and had a snack in front of the waterfall.



After about 4 hours of climbing (including a very steep section requiring us to pull ourselves up with ropes) and 800 m added to our altitude, we finally made it to the glacier lake on the other side of the mountain!!!



We had packed a picnic lunch and ate it whilst admiring the ice-blue lake below and glaciers above.



A sign proving just how high we climbed!! It is pretty hard to breathe when hiking nearly 4500 m above sea level - the air is pretty thin up there!




Last, but not least, here is a video taken once we settled down at the top of the lake:




video



Huaraz is one of the most beautiful places we have both ever been! Also, one of the mountains in the area is apparently the ¨Paramount Pictures¨ mountain that you see during the opening credits of their movies!! It was hard to leave, but we had a new friend offer us a free ride with him to Lima, so we left paradise and headed off to the largest city in Peru!

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