Elevation with ups and downs.

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The first snowy peaks

The road down to Huarochiri was equal parts beautiful and scary. Steep and unprotected, wonderful views.

Huarochiri was a bit of a surprise. It’s a “center town” but has only barely working phone connection , one restaurant and maybe 7 shops selling the same goods: some fruit, some clothes, some packaged food and almost no alcohol. Do peruvians drink at all or are they all homebrewing hipsters? Extremely friendly people.

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They have ice-cream with clove taste! (they put cloves in every desert)

Beautiful terrasse farming in the valley. Makes it hard to find a camping spot. This is cleaning and planting season. Garden dirt is burnt with occasional disastrous results.

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That's the valley we would head into.

We head off into a steep vally (the fire died out), towards the higher mountains. Scared of wildfires. A final attempt at getting phone connection. Waiting for a call which doesn’t come.

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Anastasija doesn't mind though. Break time is mango time!

Carhuapampa at 3900m has only two tiny shops and dirt roads but also streetlighting, a monstrous satellite and a bunch of friendly, curious kids. And the most beautiful entrance arch so far!

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Need for a resting day. After a night of smoke-smell and fire-fear I was exhausted. The fire never came, but I didn’t sleep. Thus: fishing day! (no cath, no idea if there is any fish in this small mountain river…)

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Steep up to a chilly 4680m pass. Great sights over snowy mountains, a bit hard to breathe. We take some pictures and hit the decent. A good 100m lower I crashed. Too cold, too high or ate too bad a mango for lunch. In any case I ended up in a sleepingbag by the side of the road while Anastasija built the tent.

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Some good
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Some bad

The next day brought a beautiful descent, spiced with a little headache. It’s understandable they made this region into a nature reserve. An old Inca road, lakes, rivers and wetlands make it intp a fairytale. Especially interesting for birdwatching.

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The road to Vilca, according to Velomap, runs along the north side of a reservoir, according to reality however, this is clearly not the case. We dreaded a 2h detour to the other side, so decided on a 3h hike and push on our side instead. Adventure!

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Dragging the bike over white beach sand and a bunch of hills. Luckily we didn't have to swim!

Passing the first mountains also meant crossing into the rainy season. Hailstorms arrive at 1 o’clock exactly. Luckily not too much rain as the final road to Vilca is quite interesting.

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Getting directions on thr road to Vilca: first up, then tranquilo!
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"road" "tranquilo"
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Con caro no possible. Con bicicleta? Si! No problemo! Tranquilo.

Vilca and the following Huancaya are beautiful towns drawing tourists with their waterfalls. Clearly bikepackers head this way regularly as nobody bats an eye at two crazies dragging loaded bikes on a path that would be hard enough to just walk.

Resting day in Huancaya. 50 soles (12 euro) per night in a hotel. 15 soles (3.5 euro) for trout with potatoes, rice and banana. A welcome change from tent and noodles!

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Time for a swim!

Resting days don’t last forever. But gravel doesn’t either. Asphalt road to Huancayo and the last wonders of the Nor Yauyos Cochas nature reserve. Not too fast though, we have to get over a 4700m pass this time.

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Steep canyon walls, few camping options
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Bananas are cheaper than cookies!

This time crossing the mountains, it was me who was feeling fine, while Anastasija got hit by headache. The first pass went allright, but we hadn’t counted on having to cross two more. The last one in a hail and thunderstorm, which we partially waited out in a cave.

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So far so good. A beautiful piece of lapiaz.
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Running from the storm. Sadly not fast enough.

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All dressed up we rolled a good 500m down, camped for too short a night and rolled another 1000 m down to Huancayo. Noisy cars, tasty sugarcane-juice and working wifi!

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A sunny moment among the campsite-ruins
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