Glacial Lake to Desert Oasis

4 05 2008

Laura: After leaving Lima with a trail of smoke behind us, we headed to Huaraz, Peru where we spent two days hiking through green hills and glacial lakes. I´ve been at high altitude before, but I have experienced nothing like the lack of oxygen I felt when we decided to hike up to Lago Churup.  Only after we got back did we discover that the lake is at an elevation of 4500 meters, which is about 14,700 feet.  The “trail system” around Huaraz is not exactly well marked. Somehow we wandered off the main trail and ended up walking into a bee farm where a guy covered in mesh pointed directly up a very steep incline. We followed a trail as we passed people walking with groups of cows and sheep. We were sure we had missed the lake after we had been walking for three hours when we turned a corner and realized we were actually above it.  We had a great view looking down onto the deep blue lake.

Chris: The climb itself was tough, the rocks slippery and the weather changing by the moment.  I unfortunately don´t have access to the majority of the pictures we took from this area, but the views were outstanding and we didn´t see a single person on the “trail.”  It’s one of those places that reminds us why we’re doing this trip.  On the way down we had a conversation in spanish with a local farmer who firmly believed  that we needed to know Quechua.  After learning a few new words we had to hurry past his cattle on the path to catch the last car back into town.   

Laura: After our hike, we took an overnight bus from Huaraz to Ica, Peru where we were met with miles and miles of desert. I had no idea that Peru had a desert region.  We had lunch in the small town of Ica, where Chris finally ordered a drink that we had been wanting to try: Inca Kola. This drink is readily available in every restaurant, grocery story, and street vendor.  It´s made from Lemon Grass, which gives it a higlighter yellow color.

After walking through Ica, we were unimpressed with the town, so Chris found us a place to stay at a nearby Oasis called Huacachina. The hostel owner asked us if we wanted to go Sandboarding and Dunebuggying that afternoon. I was vaguely aware what sandboarding was, but we signed up. Since we took the overnight bus from Huaraz, it had been exactly twenty four hours since we were standing above the lake. My shoes were still wet with glacier water when I was putting them on to go sand boarding.  We were waiting outside our hostel to be picked up when the dunebuggy roared down the street and stopped in front of our hostel.  We were the first ones picked up, so we climbed in the front and fastened our seatbelts. For the next four hours, we rode around the desert and would stop at the top of sand dunes, get out and slide down the dunes on sand boards.

  Chris: It turns out that anyone with a pulse and a blood alcohol level below .025 is allowed to drive the buggy.  And while it was fun trying to slide down the mountain on our boards, the carnival ride was even better.  And of course we had to sign the whole “We are not responsible for anything that might and probably will happen to you while…”  There are track marks in the desert so you know you are being taken the same way all the other buggies go.  The adrenaline kicks in a bit more when the driver goes off those tracks and you see only smooth flat sand in front of you.   By the end we were only able to see sand for miles around us while watching the sunset as we flew up and down the dunes on the buggy.         







3 responses

4 05 2008

hope you guys got to go sandboarding in Huacachina; it was very cool to see the same photo i shot about this time 6 years ago. ( in your photo gallery.

8 05 2008
Jane Tallant

Lala, that is so awesome!!!! I got the website from Shada, and will now follow your adventures. I love you!! jt

26 06 2008
Anna Catherine Jones

Inka Cola is to Peru as apple pie is to the U.S.

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