To Magical Lake Carhuacocha!

31 07 2017

Janca coffee

Days on trek start like this one – with a call for “Coffee/Tea”? From outside my tent. Unzipping the fly, I’m greeted with a warm beverage, smiles and grand views! This is camping at its best.

Today’s hike over 15,092′ Carhuac Pass won’t be as steep as yesterday’s. To me, that means that, instead of breaking down my leg muscles again, it’ll give them just enough stimulation that hopefully some muscle will grow…making following days more manageable.

Once we finish breakfast it’s time to hit the trail. The cooks lay out snacks for the day, which usually include fruit, hard candy and some chocolate bars. Those lemon/lime hard candies really help with my dry throat! We start out. Up and up we go. As before, Roger leads, setting the pace, and Anna sweeps with Manuel and emergency horses following. We typically stop about every 90 minutes to rest, grab a candy, re-hydrate, and change layers. Hydration is critical when exerting at altitude. I would force down as much water as possible. But on these rest stops, one of my main duties was to remove layers! While it might be 25 degrees at 6 a.m., by mid morning it’s already 50 degrees and with the exertion from hiking these climbing trails, I need to lose lots of layers!

Our itinerary says tonight’s campsite will be a feast for the eyes! We’ll be at a lake with an arc of 20,000′ peaks at one end! As we climb this morning, some of the sights come into view.

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We see a hanging glacier cascading into a valley – but right now, we cannot see the top as there are clouds drifting over.

Soon we reach our pass! We stop to rest.

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Jane, Diane and Jill celebrate!

Roger explains that this spot has lots of fossils. The Andes were in the sea some 70 million years ago. Anna goes off to collect some fossil clams for us.

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A fossilized coral fan

There is a very striking example of a fossilized coral fan here. In this section of the Andes, active geology is very evident. Everywhere you look, you can see twisted sedimentary layers in the mountainsides.

Back to hiking. We will descend to a lunch spot, as our chef staff has passed us and is already down there setting up. We keep going, and as we progress, the mountains reveal themselves. Then, around a bend, a flat spot with a lake view and to DIE FOR mountains up above. But wait there’s more! Our lunch table is right there waiting for us!

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No only that, but our kitchen crew is making something delightful. And dressed to suit!

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Fancy lunch chefs!

I really don’t know how it can get any better than this!

Just looking at the view might be enough.

But we get lunch too! In this video, I say “Touching the Void” happened here. Well, not exactly. It was on the other side of these peaks. We’ll be over there in a few days.

Our camp is about an hour from here.

I’ve been thinking about riding one of our horses. Not so much to help me get over a pass, but more to just ride!

So, I ride down to camp with Manuel guiding me along. I have forgotten how, for the novice horseman like me, going downhill whilst the horse navigates some tricky twists and turns can be a tad unsettling. A couple of times I felt like I was “going to go over the handlebars!”

We reach the side of the lake opposite camp. On this side, other groups are lodged. We pass by the French group. And our friends the trio of girls from Australia and Holland.

My horse route takes me behind a hill, skirting a farm. Coming round that hill the full impact of the eye candy of our campsite fills the sky. OMG! I am pretty much speechless. This is incredible!

What a day! Life is worth living! I can’t say this one was a waste! This is what coming here really is all about! From here, I can see 21,7591 Yerupaja, the 2nd tallest mountain in Peru. Also right here is Siula Grande, notorious for its role in the film “Touching the Void.”