|Sunset on the way to the hot springs|
Hospedaje Huayhuash in Cajatambo has a ten foot by ten foot satellite map of Cordillera Huayhuash on the wall, trails included. The hostel owner, Lucho, gave us great straight forward advice about which route to take to Llámac, and even gave us a ride to the start! We hit the trail at 3:30pm (again... this seems to be rapidly becoming our typical start time). The sun set the mountains ablaze as the dirt road ended and we temporarily lost the trail in the darkness until the dog barking from the hot springs led us in around 6:30pm. 17 km in about three hours, new record! Too late, too windy and too cold for us to take a dip that night, but a group of Israelis enticed us out of our warm beds with the promise of cards and cookies. As they parted early morning, Trinity and I slipped into the freshly cleaned hot springs to get us pumped up for two passes over 5,000 meters (16,400+ feet) in a day. We wanted to fully enjoy every bit of this little paradise.
|Shelley and Trinity... already missing our other third, Sarah!|
|Heading up Cuyoc Pass (5,000m) and into the numerous snow-capped peaks|
|Shelley at the top of Cuyoc Pass (5,000m)|
|Trinity soaking in the view on top of San Antonio|
|View of Sarapo, Siula Grande, Yerupaja from the top of San Antonio|
|A panorama like San Antonio will make anyone scream!|
|Descending to the Huayllapa Valley|
|View from Joe Simpson's famous 1985 base camp|
|Heading back to pick up packs, San Antonio Pass (5,010 m) from the night before across the valley (where the purple and beige mix)|
|Passing gorgeous waterfalls on the way down the Huayllapa valley|
|Gateway to Heaven?? :)|
|Entering civilization lowering to Huayllapa, the trails widened and the labyrinth of rock walls began|
|Heading up Tepush Pass (4,800 m)|
|Tepush Pass (4,800 meters)|
|Pass one of the day and feeling great!|
|Trinity on the way up Yaucha Pass|
|Absolutely Breathtaking view from Yaucha Pass (4,750 m)|
|Looking down on Jahuacocha- note the tiny tents in the corner for size reference!|
|Early morning tranquil start descending the 3 hours from Jahuacocha to Llámc|
|Our route through the Cordillera Huayhuash|
- Expecting to buy delicious "HUGE" trout at Jahuacocha... but apparently so was everyone else and they were "sold out" when we arrived!
- That the only disappointment was not getting trout- when in reality we were provided with soup and extra pasta from our Israeli friends' guides.
- Playing "Taki" (just like Uno) with our new friends
- "Pull and Eat" little mini Trouts at the hot springs... messy and delicious!
- The caretakers of the hot springs sent us to bed with bottles full of hot water to keep our toes toasty!
- Being the only all-female group AND the only group without a guide and pack animals
- Hiking down from San Antonio pass through thousands of lupins, hoping that the fragrance might stick to us and act as some sort of perfume
- Answering a short questionaire on tourism for some students' English homework in Huayllapa
- Meeting Klara Harden while waiting for the bus in Llámac- I recognized her immediately from her internet video Made in Iceland about hiking solo in Iceland last year! She is in Peru to film an American Expedition summiting two peaks in Cordillera Blanca
|So wonderful to meet such a cool chick and swap inspiring stories!|
- When trying to get locals advice on trekking times we would refer to our previous times ("Well, we just did such-and-such pass in 2 hours...") and they would shave off several hours from their estimates
- Running into climbers we met in El Chaltén, Argentina back in early November- Crazy! Although we realize maybe not so crazy since El Chaltén and Huaraz are both international climbing meccas and attract the same sort of (wonderful!) people...
- Getting a delicious home-cooked dinner and bed in Huayllapa for s/5 each (about US$2)
- Seeing a trail running race on the trail the last day, joking about dropping pack and joining them- our endurance is pretty high these days!
- Our Venezuelan neighbor at Lago Jahuacocha brought us hot coffee to wake us up for our 6am start
|This was pretty much our expression for the entire 5 days in Cordillera Huayhuash|
|Millions of lupins lined all the valleys in Cordillera Huayhuash|
|Shelley imagining how high the peaks must be if she is currently at about 4,700 meters..|
|Trinity taking in one last view before descending to Lago Jahuacocha|
|Looking down on Llámac|
|Shelley's non-GoreTex shoes really let the dirt in... looks like she works in one of the many mines in the area!|
Cordillera Huayhuash Facts:
- The majority of treks start and end in Llámac (or Chiquian or Huaraz) - we started in Cajatambo (S)
- Everyone else we saw on the trail was traveling with a guided group, but it is not required
- The typical circuit is 10-12 days, most groups do a shorter version in 8 days now (but that eliminates hiking up the Huayllapa valley)
- Most groups set up camp in the valley below Cuyoc and trek to San Antonio Mirador as a side trip
- You can buy food along the way- in Huayllapa and Llámac there are kiosks with provisions, you can buy trout and potatoes for dinner at Lago Vicunga and Jahuacocha
- Fees we paid along the way (for "improved security")- Hot Springs at Lago Vicunga s/15, Huayllapa s/35, Pacllon (after Tapush Pass) s/15, Llámac s/15
- We heard one couple had a camera stolen a few days before, but we don't know if it was just in their tent or a forced robbery. We never felt un-safe (except near cows!)
- Even though this is technically high season, we only saw other tourists on the trail at Jahuacocha (though we saw several guides and mules etc)