Peru, May 17-June 2
Back to Peru, back to Lima. The food here is great, the city itself is meh. We quickly moved on to Huaraz, the hiking capital of Peru. There was not a single person on that flight not wearing hiking boots and carrying hiking poles. The Cordillera Blanca is the highest mountain range in the world outside the Himalayas, with 18 summits of more than 6000m! It was breathtaking, for the sights but also the altitude to walk at. To get ready for our multi day trek, we started with two single day hikes. Laguna 69 is the day hike that everyone goes to. No matter of age, fitness degree or wearing tennis shoes. They cart four buses there every day, with a guide ensuring people stick to the strict time table. 3h up, 1h break, 2h down. You get altitude sickness or are too slow, back to the bus it is. The hike started on 3900m and went up in a slow zigzag to 4600m, 15km overall. Didn’t sound like much but at that altitude it was hard work to reach the lagoon. Very beautiful up there though.
The second day we ditched the crowds and got a taxi to Pitec, to start from 3850m the shorter but much steeper hike to Laguna Churup, 4600, 12km. The way down included some via ferrata-like climb over a steep cliff side on ropes. For a short while I was worried I would have to stay on that mountain forever, but then Dorin walked me through it step by step.