Hard to believe I am in Peru. The days in Lima were nice but driving up the Pacific coast on the legendary Pan American Highway was rewarding with clear views of the ocean and the sand covered stretches of coastline. We stopped for a good lunch in the costal town of Hauchu.
The drive took us inland and along a narrow winding road that went from sea level to 12,000. The views became ever more interesting as we gained altitude. The landscape turned from wind driven sand to grass and trees with the occasional corn crops. A few small villages dotted the countryside but it was the mountains that got my attention, of course.
The snow capped peaks reminded me of why we were here and stepping out of the small bus, the thin air served as an ever-present reminder of the mission ahead.
Another fews turns and we were in the town of Huaraz, the gateway to the mountains. It was as expected with adobe buildings, dirt roads on the outskirts but developed into a nice town with an attractive plaza and multiple churches dotting the environment. And of course, mountain views.
We found our hotel, Olzas, a small bed and breakfast used by climbers near the town center. The rooftop terrace served as the primary gathering place as we traded stories with other teams from around the world. The signature Peruvian music also kept us company. The wireless internet let me Skype back home!
An American, Chris Benway who has lived in Huraz for over 15 years, had arranged our logistics and met us at the hotel. Nice guy with good connections, we were in good hands. We had dinner at his restaurant, Cafe Andino, that evening, another great place to wind down after the 7 hour drive.
So, team in tact, we are enjoying an acclimatization day here at 10,000′ and will leave early tomorrow morning for a three hour drive to Cashapampa at 9,000′. We will trek that day to the camp at the Llama Corral at 11,500′.
Thus another memory in the making of a mountain adventure. These are the stories my mom would have enjoyed hearing of strange far-away places from her simple roots of Western Kentucky. Knowing that people are nice to strangers in foreign lands, the food is good and I was safe. But as always she would say after my climb “I’m glad you got that out of your system.”
Memories are Everything