After couple of hikes here in Peru, experiencing unexpected, stunning views, camping in minus temperature, getting altitude sick, taking some beautiful pictures I have decided to write few words about this experience.
OK I have to confess, I have few addictions, which food (of course), traveling, tattoos and of course mountains. I know people love sea, relaxed sunbathing in a beach, I do too. I really love surfing as well and later in this trip I'm really hoping to properly nail this sport. But more I live more I understand I love mountains the most. I love them all year round: snowboarding in winter, hiking in summer and just being surrounded by them looking at its majestic beauty.
So within those couple of weeks of woofing I have managed to do two hikes: a week ago 2 days hike with overnight stay on the top of the mountain with beautiful views of Glaciers and Montanas Negras and couple of days ago shorter only one day hiked alongside Paron lake (the largest lake in the national park) going further to reach smaller lake (Arte Soncocha). Both hikes done in Huascaran National Park in Andes, Peru.
Hike No 1 - 17-18th July Summary:
2 full days with overnight stay
Top peak ~ 4400m
Altitude gained in one day ~ 2100m
Altitude gained by hiking ~ 1000m
Very steep hike, 95% climbing
No trekking paths - 100% off road
Ok, this hike was super difficult and demanding (physically and mentally), not mentioning that it was my first "real" hike (meaning, I have done bits and bobs before with tourist groups, but nothing like this one). Nearly all of it was pretty steep climb and no flat bits whatsoever to catch a breath. Stopping only few times to have some water, eat a granola bar or chew some coca leafs in higher altitude, which was kinda helping at around 4000m, but when eventually we reach the camp I've eventually got altitude sick. Not too bad, only the headache, but the strongest I've ever had.
After the sun went down we had to go to the tent as it was getting unbearably cold, my guess is it was few degrees below 0. The night was long and cold, although I fell asleep quickly as I was not feeling well, I woke up several times as my toes were freezing, 5 layers of thermals, 3 pairs of socks and my flimsy +5C sleeping bag wasn't enough.
We woke up with the sunrise although the sun was hiding behind the mountain so it was too cold to go outside yet. So we spend couple more hours in the tent, which was covered in frost from outside and it was still a lot warmer than staying outside in minus temperature. Than finally sun came out it was much better, although my headache came back it was not as strong as the day before. We slowly packed up and started going down. Stopping by the ancient preinka temple ruins to do a little offering of coca leaves to gods.
When finally came back home I was feeling tired but happy, I have survived the very difficult hike, burning sun, freezing cold camping, 4400m height and altitude sickness.
Hike No 2 - 24th July Summary:
1 day trek -5h, 11km hiking
Top peak - 4280m
Altitude gained in one day ~ 2000m
Altitude gained by hiking ~ 200m
Very little climbing (5-10%)
This one was easy and pleasant comparing with the first one. It was almost no climbing accept couple of hundred meters there were no proper trekking path. But beside of it it was nice and pleasant, especially because of the most amazing views of the mountains and the lake Paron, which is the largest in Cordillera Blanca region. So all 11km there and back was done in 5 hours rushing a bit as we had a local taxi waiting for us. So the last bit of trekking from the very tip of Paron lake to small Laguna Artesancocha was a bit of the run, but worth it as I have got to see the Paramount Pictures logo mountain Artesonraju from so close!
And at the end just wanted to add recipe of Double Peanut Granola Bar! Amazing energy source for hikes and just super delicious for breakfast or snacking!
2 glasses oats
1/2 glass peanuts
1/3 glass flax seeds
1/3 glass chia seeds
Handful of raisins
Handful of sultanas
Handful of seasonal local dried berries/fruits (I used Physalis, which is one off the most popular berry in Peru, especially mountains)
1/3 glass agave syrup (or other favourite natural sweetener)
1/2 glass smooth peanut butter
1tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch has of salt
Mix all well in a large dish. Line baking dish with parchment paper and press it well. Leave for a while to absorb moist from sweetener and peanut butter and cut it to preferred shape.