With a two-week break from school for Fiestas Patrias holidays, Ana and I decided to hike the Huayhuash (pronounced why-wash) trek, which took us seven days.
Being the more hard-core of the duo, Ana needed some convincing to go with an arriero (donkey driver). In the end, she caved (whew!) and thus we hired Monsueto whose burros bore the weight of our packs. We provided food and cooked for Monsueto, but he cleaned up the dishes and set up our tents. Luxury indeed!
As we learned later, we probably shocked our Monsueto with our fancy vegetarian dinners. One day I included a carrot in his lunch, which I later found him feeding to the donkeys. When we recounted this story later, our Huaracina friend became hysterical at the thought of him wanting to snack on raw carrots. So turns out eating raw carrots is a gringo thing…
More of a meat and potatoes guy, Monsueto makes sure we know the way before we set off in the morning
The days generally went like this: We woke up early to freezing cold temps. We made oatmeal in the vestibule of our tent while still wrapped in all our clothes and sleeping bags. We packed up camp and bade farewell to Monsueto, who walked much faster than us.
Then, we’d walk and enjoy the views. We hiked up and down at least one pass per day. The hike is at high altitude–between 3500 and 5000 meters–but luckily I was now fully acclimatized. (Side note: In addition to tea and lunch, taking pictures and consulting the map are excellent excuses for breaks.)
With the exception of one long day, we would arrive to camp around mid-afternoon. We’d immediately start cooking, so we could eat while the sun was shining (read: while it was still warm). We were usually in bed by grandma hour. And then we’d start all over again early the next morning.
The area is populated with sheep herders and subsistence farmers, who live in huts like this one
A disclaimer on my unfashion-forward jean patch: I wore through the knees of my jeans, and Huaraz does not have pants long enough for me!
Color-coordination with nature
Rivers running red
An infinity-shaped lake on one of our final days
At the top of our first pass. Only eight more to go!
I’m not sure what this is, but we only saw one of its kind
Ana midway up San Antonio pass
The view the top made it worth it!
Cheesy yoga pose photo
Our friend Alexis surveys the scene from the top
The final campsite comes into view
The sun hits the mountains before it bids us farewell for the night
We emerged from the trek dirty and grateful for the comfort of a bed! No epic adventure stories–things all in all went smoothly–but it was a beautiful and peaceful experience.
Gracias, helpful burritos!