Well it looks like the blog for the past few days is down to me to complete as we have some very tired girls here in Peru!!!
With all World Challenge trips you are given an itinerary which is only a suggested outline plan, we do have the opportunity to change things should we so wish. With this in mind, when we arrived in Arequipa we were told by our local contact about a trek which descends into a Canyon called Colca. The promise of spectacular views, an opportunity to test the girl’s fitness and the opportunity to see Condors flying in their natural habitat sold it to me....now I just needed to persuade the girls :-)
After three and half hours we arrived at our first destination, Chivay. This is a very traditional Peruvial village and sits at an altitude of 3,400m. This was where we were to have a very traditional Peruvian breakfast....Greasy Joes it certainly wasn’t. A selection of Bread, Jam, and some sort of meat, tea, coffee and even the local Coco leaves (which help with altitude) we laid before us....What surprised me was how fast the girls made this lot disappear....and then asked for seconds!
We then headed to the Cruz de la Condor to watch these amazing birds cruzing the early morning thermals looking for food. The condor has a 3m (9 feet in old money) wing span which when only 7 metres away feels very intimidating. To have this opportunity has been my highlight of this trip so far.
Following lunch we had to ascend for an hour and traverse through two villages (remember the descent into the canyon is the only way to these villages) until, as darkness arrived, we started our descent to Oasis. So with head torches adorned we set off down a particularly slippy path. We arrived at Oasis at 20.00hrs (8pm!!!!) with a lot of extremely tired girls. We were told by Nestro that evening meal was planned for 21.30hrs so everyone went to their rooms (little huts) for a quick rest....ok we all had a snooze...luckily I had set my alarm as everyone was out cold and only woke when I knocked on the door of each hut. To say the girls were grumpy is putting it mildly!!!! Appetite once again affected by over exertion and tiredness...
I woke everyone at 04.30 in the morning ready for a 05.00hrs start...I don’t think I was the most popular guy in the world at this point but needs be! The evening prior I had discussed with Nestro some options for us to make the ascent out of the Canyon as easy as we could and so we hired 4 mules....two mules to carry one of the girls who had struggled the most the day before and Mrs Douglas (she didn’t complain much about this ;-)) and two mules to carry everyone’s rucksacks. At 05.30 the trekkers set off for what we all knew was going to be a particularly painful and challenging day. The mule train was due to set off an hour or so later.
Arriving back at our hostel early (for us) meant we could get out and have a meal and a well deserved early night....A note to self here...always make sure you know where you are planning to meet the group in town otherwise you go hungry!!!!
Note to group: Don’t drink the water in the hot Spa!!!!
Quote of the Trek (and of the trip so far) from Roisin: “Even my dead Grandmothers legs feel better than mine do right now”.
I’m currently writing this from the bus on our way to the next step of our expedition in Puno....so stand by for lots of exciting blogs from the girls...if they are not too tired!!! This bus has Wi-Fi...How awesome is that!!! I should also mention the sheer luxury of these buses. The standard seats on the top are very comfortable and recline to a comfortable sleeping position. The seats down at the bottom are the ultimate in luxury being wide, very padded and able to recline to 160%...having never tried these seats before I thought I better....just so I can pass this information onto other groups in the future of course ;-) hahahaha....
Photos to follow :-)