Friday 11th September 2015
First thing I did in the morning was to go to the Huascaran agency around the corner, literally one minute walk and ask about the Santa Cruz trek. They had a 5-day trek going the next day and had 6 people registered for it and were taking 8 people max. The guy explained me the itinerary and altitudes and I signed up. Here was the rough map he drew for me of the trek which got me dreaming already. Santa Cruz trek is reputed in South America to be one of the most scenic hike you can take in high altitude mountains and I was super happy to have finally reached Huaraz and go for it, the way I had got so excited when I reached El Cocuy in Colombia a few weeks before. I could only wish I had more time to do even more but that something we all dream of!!
On this map, you can see Huaraz in the bottom right corner. From there we would take a minibus to Yungay to the west. It is hard to see on the map, but that`s where the vertical line goes from which is more to the right as we were to do the trek anti-clockwise. From Yungay, we would drive a bit further north. On Day 1, we were about to do the little loop you can see on that right vertical line, to go to Laguna 69, and then be back from where we started walking and sleep there.
The second day, we would walk to a place called Taulle.
Third day, we would pass the Punta Point pass at 4,750 meters of altitude, the highest pass on this trek.
Fourth day we would go to Apamayo basecamp and then cross a desert and sleep at our last camp. That`s represented by the blue blurb of drawing next to the word Blanca.
Fifth day we would walk a few hours to the end of the Santa Cruz trek in Caramanga and from there take a 3-hour drive minibus again back to Huaraz.
I asked if I could take my own tent, sleeping bag and mattress and he told me to bring them in the afternoon so they could pack them with the rest of the hiking gear. During the day we would just have a small pack to carry and 5 donkeys would carry the rest of clothes and equipment and food they would cook for us. I had done it a bit more hardcore way in Colombia by taking a guide only and carrying everything, but I was keen to take it easy this time. Also, I had not met other self-independant hikers in the hostel, and didn`t feel experienced enough to just go totally alone.
After having signed up for the trek, I went back to the hostel, grabbed tent, sleeping bag and mattress and brought them to Huascaran agency. Then I walked to the Mercado Central in the south of Huaraz with the mission of finding 2 things, an adaptor for my computer charger so I could plug it in and blog in the afternoon and the mission of buying coca leaves to chew them during the hike.
Walking around the streets of Huaraz.
I walked around the market at first but couldn`t find someone selling a charger.
What was being sold was mostly common goods.
Kept walking the streets. So many street sellers, selling juices, books, newspapers.
Street sellers having small stands selling from snacks to toilet paper and everything in between.
Lots of women also come from the mountains to sell their veggies. They seat directly on the pavement, open the bag they carried on their back which contains their potatoes for example and wait for people to buy them.
I found the adaptor in a small shop where the woman warned me to be careful with the camera. Cuidado! Muy rapido! She mimicked the gesture of someone grabbing my camera quickly and running away. I appreciated her concern and said I would pay attention and be vigilant. Then I kept walking and found that guy selling coca leaves.
Yeah! Ready for the trek. Let`s hope it helps me get a less important headache this time.
In front were women selling their veggies.
I wandered on the streets around the market, I really liked this buzzing vibrant street life.
It is funny also to see this “phone cabin” style that people can still use to call someone.
I found a local eatery for lunch.
I had another ceviche, miam miam, I love ceviches. 😀
Then I went to Bookcafe that the Quebecoise girl had recommended me as having a good WiFi. It was 1.30pm and they were closing and reopening at 4pm so I went back to the hostel, planning to get back there later.
On my way to the hostel I bought a bag of physalis and a bag of prickly pears (figues de barbarie in French) from this woman.
I stayed in the hostal, blogging on the terrace, enjoying the silence and wind and the view of the mountains and eating my physalis and prickly pears while trying to catch-up on the Cusco to Lima to Guayaquil journey. Then I headed to the Bookcafe and stayed there blogging until 9pm. Went back to the hostel, gave my computer to the woman so she could keep it safe, got a bag to use in which to put my stuff away, refilled the camelback. I packed the 2 hiking bags, the big one with the warm clothes and evening stuff and the small one with camelbak, suncream, hat, sunglasses, coca leaves, and a bag in which I would leave the rest of stuff, all electronics for example. I had the 4-bed dormitory for myself which was super handy to spread all my stuff on all beds ahahaha, had fun. 🙂
Went to bed, ready for the next day, the guy from Huascaran was picking me up at 5.40am. Excitiiiing!!!!
Let`s go hiking again!!!