Now if there’s one thing my friends and family might know about me, it’s that I hate tents. But for some odd reason I’ve now found myself burrowing away into my sleeping bag and internally weeping myself to sleep twice in the space of two and a half weeks – all in the name of trekking. The Salkantay I could just about handle – we had mattresses of a thickness the naked eye could actually detect, (cold) showers and even the odd campfire/bar – it was the Hilton of the camping world. The Santa Cruz trek which I just got back from – a 4 day adventure departing from Huaraz in Peru – was rather a different story and meant a tent in a random, freezing cold field. If Salkantay was the Hilton, this was the Travelodge.
But despite all of that, I had a brilliant time. Every night we found ourselves staring up to a blanket of diamonds covering the sky. Every campsite was surrounded by a skyline of snowy mountains and a stream of glistening, fresh water, and every hike took us into new landscapes, climates and vistas. And so every toss and turn during the minus 10 degree nights was worth it, and I realised that slumming it in the simple way for a few nights is the only way you properly get to experience and enjoy ‘pachamama’ – mother nature, a word I`ve heard floating around here in Peru and Bolivia more than ever before.
As that suggests I’d definitely recommend the Santa Cruz trek, and for the more hardcore there`s the Huaywash – an eight-day adventure that`s supposed to be amazing (and fairly gruelling). Huaraz as a city itself doesn`t offer that much other than lots of cheap restaurants and ceviche, but the Laguna 69 day trek is tipped to be stunning, and for those short on time the Pastoruri glacier – which I took a daytrip to – is also well worth visiting.
I`m now on my way to Mancora, the beach haven of northern Peru, where it`s time to enjoy a different side to pachamama – and attempt to improve my fairly limited surfing skills. More on that in the next post – ciao for now!