Location: hehe still Huaraz, Peru
Well hello there to anyone who still actually looks at my webpage. Here I am in Huaraz, still, I suppose I will explain why.
I have thought alot latey about this trip. Its not the kind of trip that consists of solid backpacking. Nor exploring untamed wild areas of the planet (well ok maybe a bit). It was and still is, the kind of trip where my passion for a small place in the universe overrides my desire to leave. This decision has been hard to make in certain situations, and in others it has been purely obvious.
The comforting fact is that there is always the ability to pack up my small little home in a backpack and move on. Today you find me in Huaraz. Some of you may already know my ardor and complete comfort here in the mountain village. This second time here I have stayed in a friends place, accomplished many goals which have prompted my return for the past two years, and formed relationships with people whom I value more and more every day (sometimes they bring me chocolate).
This is a small re-cap of what I have been up to. If I were to go into too much detail I would bore you with the geological structure of the rock etc. Little things I hope not to bore you with are small details of my sentiments.
One of my most major accomplishments which you can see pictures of on Jareds webpage as well (www.planetranger.com/jaredbarnes) was leading my team (Allen and Jared) up to the summit of Vallunaraju. The ordeal was slightly stressful, I felt confident, but did not feel it reciprocated at all times by my team. I was quite the slave driver, but this was something I felt necessary as SOME people did not take mountaneering quite as seriously as I did. The view from the summit was nirvana. You are above the clouds, it is a sanctuary (except from the wind) and the overall sense of accomplishment is a feeling like none other.
After my return, there was no day of rest, as Jatun Mache called my name. This vortex of the universe abound with igneous rock entices climbers (met some world class golden axe receivers) and just enthusiasts like me.
I have had a great chance to improve my confidence. At the point in my climbing it has come down to mental strength. I get very intimidated by routes which chalenge me, and the funny part is, if I am top-roping I can scale it like it ain't no thang.
I have been able to be here long enough to rally together a group of people, a group of unquestionably awesome, genuine, whole-heartedly great people who ride the same life wave of me, and we climb and party together, and keep an eye on each other.
Angie has introduced me to another cool chica, Carolina, who will inspire my climbing and make HUaraz a party with us. Look for party pictures soon.
My more recent escapade has been up the Quebrada Onda, a creek, non-touristy area. This area us not the beaten path because I believe they try to keep it away from the tourist eye. This Quebrada (spanish for creek) is full of mines. Mines which flavoured the water with some sort of metallic alloy. You see one very pristine (the majority) side of the cordillera blanca which is massive, and then I got to see the unfortunate part of the pillaging of the mountains, but the blunt reality of it is there and should be known.
As for now, I sit in a nice little hideaway. Some of you may already know that I have a giant cast on my leg. I don't like to talk about it, but lucklily those awesome people I mentioned have been carrying me around until I got my crutches. Just so you know, my leg is not broken, but the doctors here seem to think I need one ( not too sure about their level of education, as they would not give me ice). I plan on cutting it off, somehow, resting for a few days, and then back at the rock that tried to get me. Wish me luck, will try to update in my invalid state, and look for some more fun pictures soon!
With many besos de Huaraz,
the long lost Heather
Location: Huaraz, Peru
Good Day to my Amigos!
I have a little entry for everyone to read today. I have had a few life lessons over the past few days, and would like to share...maybe some of you will leapfrog and even learn from them.
Lesson number one...
Location: Jatun Mache, an enormous area of volcanic rock plopped in between the cordillera blanca and negra
Lesson: Mainly for my friends who climb...NEVER USE A GRI GRI!
I have witnessed the failure of one, and what could have been a very serious accident. A local guide was leading a route, and, in between his final bolt and the anchor, fell. I am not sure what went wrong but Ger fell about 15m. My first aid instinct kicked in and he got some questions about his back, but his insistance that he was ok, and it was just his knee, let us all breath a bit better. There was a slowing of the fall but I am not 100% sure what happened with the gri gri, the rope was thick, it was being used correctly to a point, but my eyes left the gri gri and watched the fall and it all happened so fast. THe dude who was belaying was shocked, just as shocked as Ger and the rest of us. Feewf...all turned out OK in the end.
Lesson number two...
Location: Taxi in Huaraz
Lesson: check taxi throughly before exit...
I was tired, full of bags and stuff, got out of a taxi and left my camera and book inside. They must have fallen out of another bag. I had my backpack (GIANT ONE) on my back, and was organized but just had so much stuff. I would rather not talk about this anymore as I am still a bit ANGRY.
Good thing there is wine at Javier and Angies bar-Zero Drama.
So, those are my lessons. I am taking in lots of vitamin D here, the days are gorgeous and the nights are chilly, just how I like them.
I will post more pictures for you...umm I mean I wont (AHHH) because I am an idiot and don't have a camera. I guess those memories will be forever locked in my mind. Luckily I have all of my HUayhuash pictures on Angies computer, which I will post when I find some internet mas rapido.
Until then, I send my love from Huaraz. Take a look outside, have a breath of fresh air, and enjoy the natural scenery you have at your footsteps as well!
Location: Huaraz, Peru
Hola to everyone!
How are you all doing?
I am really good. I have finally made it to Huaraz, one of my fav. places in the entire universe. The weather could not be better, I have re-united with the amazing Angie, Jared is here to rock it with me, and I also got to meet las Mexicanas, Ana and Isa, who spent un poco tiempo with us here in the begining and provided an influence which kept the party hats on (you know you did girls!)
Yesterday I returned from one of the most magnificent experiences of my life (ahh again, how does this keep happening?)
The cordillera Huayhuash was one of my main goals here in Peru.
It is a range in the Andes which has some of the most rugged, stellar views. The daunting and somewhat discouraging peaks have claimed the lives of many, and enriched the lives of many others. To wander through the glacial carved valleys and breath this desolate and oxygen lacking air gives one an inherent sense of smallness. The trivial things which make up stress in my life dissappear here and I am left to contimplate every single step to a higher altitude, which at times felt a bit tricky.
There was fairy tale scenery, at times I felt like I was in the Legend of Zelda. Trees which spiraled and grew at seemingly impossible angles, strange quagmires which required expert navigation- or the possibility of being sucked into the earth by the vacuum of mud which lay beneath existed. Some of the lakes were more aquamarine than I could imagine, such richness, with incandescent ripples glistening from the surfaces (excluding the lakes with chunks of glacial ice poised ever so chillingly on the surface). Seeing the lakes, the minerals, the slow process of the formation of a moraine, the death of a million year old enormous chunk of ice by avalanche, was so very exciting. Thought provoking. If I had all the time in the world and indespensable income for education I would study and research plants which grow at high altitudes, and/or geology. SO COOL!
The begining of our adventure seemed to point us in the direction of DO NOT GO ON THIS TREK. Our group was very cool, Jared and I, Angie (Wisconsin), Dan (Wales) and Brett (Aussie) ...team International, but also team not 100% prepared.
At the last minute our stove (absolutely necessary for cooking) was unavailable and we did not have a map to guide us through this formidable terrain. With my luck, and the luck of the others, the stars alignied and we set off with a borrowed stove and ...umm..still no map. We were able to navigate with the help of our excellent arriero (donkey driver...we had 4 burros to pack our food/tents/wine...hehe...yes, wine). We even did some routes off the beaten path, passes ranging from 4700m to 5200m every day, and seemed by the grace of someone watching out for us to make it unscathed, quite content, and proud of ourselves.
The experience was on the whole perfect, but there is one aspect I must share with you that really demoralizes the indigenous communities of the cordillera Huayhuash.
Nearly every day we were harrassed for money at various checkpoints. This is understandable, many parks, whether it be Banff or Monument Valley, have fees, but the disorganization, and slipshod manner in which the money was received was dissapointing. Many times we would ask for a discount, which is common here, but every time we all knew that the extortionate and profiteering man at the gate put our soles (dinero Peruano) into his pocket.
There is no system of organization or way to break down the income from tourism into the various communities. The communities will not reach a solution in the near future, so at every post where they asked us for money we gave them our opinion of the negative impacts their behavior is creating. I try to understand their side, and how it actually has to be an intrinsic idea to form a better solution, but seriously the chekpoint men at each stop have nothing better to do than to argue with the tourists and take their money (which they REALLY profit from).
Hopefully one day it will be sorted out so that the misuse of money is lessened and tourists feel less hassled on the trail.
The zenith (in terms of food) for the Huayhuash experience happened on the final night. On the sixth day we were sitting in our campsite, when (not unusual) a herd of sheep passed through. (half)Jokingly we asked Messner (our donkey driver) how much a lamb would cost, as dinner was good (Brett has crazy culinary skills) but meat sounded really tasty. Next thing we knew, we had purchased a live mutton (about $25 CDN) and over breakfast the next morning watched it be slain, skinned, and cut into fresh cuts of meat. What a day. The look of the eyes of the sheep were intense to see before its death, but the taste of the meat made me forget all about it. Messner was a pro when it came to Pachamancas (traditional style of cooking in a hole in the ground, practiced for centuries since the dawn of cooking by tribes all over the world...process which involves a hole, extremely hot rocks, and a pile of dirt on top of our cooking sheep and potatoes).
We ate like kings that night by the light of our headlamps, and to our surprise we were also able to purchase beer.
I can not explain to you the feeling of connectedness I feel when I am in places like these, but I can tell you that these places really make me wish some of you were there with me. The beauty gives such an overwhelming sense of adrenaline mixed with content. Everyone...go outside, smell the fresh air, and take a minute to remember who you are today.
I love you all and will post pictures soon,
big kisses from Heather!
Location: Iquitos, Peru
Good Morning America (north)...Buenos Dias Americasur!
Here I am in Iquitos, the hot, sticky, Jungle-y, mosquito free (why¿- I don´t know) town in the Amazon Basin of Peru. It is the worlds largest city not accesible by road, you get in and out by boat or plane. My trip getting here was very different from everything I have had so far, and to tell you about it, I will post a series of quotes directly from my journal so you can hear my exact thoughts from the moments on the lancha (small cargo boat). It was 3 days (approx) from Letecia, Colombia, to get here. 3 Days of a lifestyle I haven't seen or had ever, a giant collectivo boat, supporting an entire system of interaction and economy for the towns along the way.
Ohh...I really liked sleeping in a hammock too.
Here we go with the quotes...
"Here I am in Letecia. Rain falls hard from the dark skies, which does not improve my mood since departing Bogota. One thing that does though, is the friendly staff at the bakery who bring me a nice tall glass of avena"
"I sit eating breakfast, listening to the bongos of the hippies who sit outside [there were many hippies in Letecia] riding their own far out beat in the universe"
"Letecia is a polar opposite of everywhere else I have been in Colombia (and rightfuly so). It has a larger indigenous influence on the population and a less obvious European influence, which I have deduced is from their geographical location." *Note architecture of Church in fotos to come
"This towns geopolitical significance did not manifest itself until after the arrival of our happy flora friend erythroxylum [coca plant]"
Note: Letecia shares borders with Brazil, and Peru, so we have a prime narcotrafficante zone...
NOW...on the lancha...
"What a day. I perch in my hammock, observing the not so tiny spider tending his web. Perhaps he will prevent the Heather massacre, or perhaps he will contribute"
Note: There were (don't know why) no mosquitos on the boat either...very peculiar!
"After squinting hard along the surface of the river my patience (rare for me) paid off and I saw freshwater DOLPHINS!!!!!"
"I was quite surprised [in a small pueblo we stopped in ] to hear a cell phone ring...I suppose this is one form of ICT which many people in the world do want...one can't deny that trade (at any level) has forced certain aspects of globalization upon everyone, and cell phones facilitate this..."
"In every stop I observe niños playing the game which 'unites the world' -soccer is played here with anything that is round"
"Que chistoso para todo a la gente en esta barco...estoy demasiado alta para caminar en las hammacas"
"How funny to watch me for everyone here [they are so much shorter than me...I am the ONLY gringa on my boat] to watch me walk amongst the hammocks, ducking"
"It's like a giant dorm for everyone [the hammocks] and when people want to, they just pack up their stuff and move their hammock to be nearer to their new amigos...
At first I was skeptical and felt like the outcast tourist but the more I spoke with the Peruvians and interacted, the warmer they are to me...its not like COlombia where everyone was just open and friendly right off the bat"
"I FOUND A MONKEY. A mono en mi barco!!! THe eyes of this monkey were the window to his caged and repressed soul. He looked at me with envy [he was leashed to the side of the boat]...all of my entire heart wanted him to be free...he climbed onto me happy to touch something other than metal"
"every time we stop, the boat becomes bustling with life, vendors come aboard, selling popcorn, fried [delicious] fish, every form of food from this region, que rico!"
"My entertainment over morning breakfast was watching people try to catch a chicken which escaped from its bag, it was almost a jumper"
And now, here in Iquitos...
I arrived in Iquitos...met up with Jared, and yesterday we went to a wildlife reserve. It was terrible. I was disgusted to see the animals pacing their cages. They were so noble, the leopard with his wise grin, yet breathing heavy and stressed. THe monkeys, rattling at their cage (see Jareds page for some cool picts too www.planetranger.com/jaredbarnes). THe dolphins, which I pet, were in a murky dirty small pond, the only thing that actually looked happy were the wild pigs. Easy to please I guess.
Iquitos is cool, very touristy, the architecture here is not really COlonial either...for some reason reminds me very much of the BAhamas...
Anyways, I have a flight to catch to LIma now, am running late, and have already missed one flight (my first one to Letecia) so I need to be organized. I send hugs to everyone who reads this, and everyone who misses me as much as I miss them. Hope the sun is shining on you and the weather is sweet, yeah!
Ciao for now!
Click on any of the headings above to see some photos.
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Response: I cut it off by myself in a cafe with help of other friends and a big giant tool thingy. Was totally unnecessary, swelling is going down with ice I am finding in various locations. Think in about 1 month can climb again..but its killing me to sit and do nothing. Love ya Mom!
Response: Hey Dad!
The plants that grow here I think would do really well in our climate. The high altitude and dry season make for some hardy flora...but this time I wont try to bring back any seeds, the whole legal issue. I love you, enjoy Ohio! Get another Mustang...byebye
Response: I was having a marvelous time, until I tore every possible ligament in my right ankle. Now I know how shitty it is for everyone in USA who has to pay for their medicare, and many in Canada as well. I will make the best of it, me and my little friend painkiller. Hope Grandma does better and say hola to Grandpa,
Glad to hear Manu Chao was everything I expected them to be for you, lucky guy! My luck here has run out, the problem I was working on at Huanchac was almost complete and I fell and just landed wrong. So close to finishing it. Luckily Allen carries me everywhere and I finally have some crutches. It was intense pain, but ce la vie no_
See ya later Guero! Besos de HUaraz
Response: MEC did do a good job! Espero por tu, comida Mexicano, burros, chelas, y cevichi, muchisimo, in that order!
Response: Extrañate tambien sista! Tengo mucho ganas a ir rafting contigo! Olvido mucho tambien, pero vamos a hablar, porque tengo que practicar antes Mexico. RAFTING...¡¡¡WOO DALE!!!
Besos de HUaraz.
PS I climbed a mtn for you...
see you in a month ish¡¡¡¡¡
Response: Hola sista¡
WIsh I could have spoken longer...damn connection! I am excited to hear about your MB. MBs are like your fav flavor of ice cream, you just can´t get enough, but too much causes pain. Especially if you are lactose intolerant (which has nothing to do with the MB)
OK rambling like you were right here next to me...miss ya mucho!
Response: Al203, que bueno a escucharte!¡ Como estas, bos¿? Ahora regreso de una 4 dia camina con pasos bonita. Fui con Angie y sus amiga Carolina, 3 mujeres de poder en QUebrada honda...super linda y tambien una vista de devestacion a la media ambiente (environment?¿)...porque you ask...porque hay mucho minas aca...super horrible...hay una de oro...cyanide heap leaching...the process to extract the oro from the ore...super un-cool..I could get nerdy here but I won't Al203 (wink)!
Will post more lindo fotos soon, he subido Vallunaraju, MY FIRST ever leading a team of cool people over a glacier, it was alot of fun, tiny bit stressful, but wonderful.
ALso, with ANgie and her amiga we made a sweet music video in our camina...like the cool ones you see of the cholitas, on all of the buses, playing that horrible sounding musica.
Wish you were here, but know you are enjoying every bit of Argentina!
Besos de Huaraz, expect more e¡mails now that I am back in town...
Response: HOla Mamasita...
now that I am back in Huaraz you can expect an entry and fotos within the next few days, I promise. I love you lots, and have had such a good time playing in these mountains. I am so discouraged to be on a computer when there is so much opportunity around me. Speaking of this...its coffee time at Angies...gotta fly, mucho besos!
Response: Uncle MIke,
Camera received, back in action, expect fotos soon!
Loved the picts of Devea and Connor, he is adorable, good thing we all have Knutson genes!
hola to the Abuelos!
Response: I am looking forward to seeing your fine ass. Hope you plan on driving to golden with me. YOu better not move to BC without saying goodbye either. I hope you live in YYC for the few days I will be there, and we can rock out old school gangsta style, in da hood, representin like we should. Maybe we can do something juvenile like egg coffee guys store haha I am 22, seriously, I am 22. We, together, have a youthful essence, lets party honey!
See ya in a month! Besos y amor de Huaraz
Response: Hey you. Tell your Mom I miss her. Seriously. This is not a Mom joke. Your Dad too. Good old Godfather. Tell him I went to church the other day. haha SIKE.
Kisses from me to you!
Response: Hey there chica!
Will be a bit uncool to come home to Calgary sans Leslie, no more neighbor in Garisson Woods. I know how awesome BC will be though! I am sure there will be a few road trips back and forth from both ends! Hope you are rockin it Cambodia style and getting lots out of your travels,
big kisses for you!
Response: Mi Tio!!
Hey, at least we know it was a happy lamb. He did not come from an industrial livestock operation, and was not pumped full of hormones, and hey thats life, especially for many who live here. I LOVE the pictures, Mom sent me picts of Deva, COnnor, Grandma and Grandpa. Positively adorable! I would love to meet him one day! I love you lots and am really happy that Deva got out to visit you guys!
Besos de Huaraz, Peru!
Thanks for making me feel better about #2. I always strive to be more like you and look at the positive things. TOday is a gorgeous day in Huaraz and I am going to go eat some chocolate cake,
Love you lots!
Response: Hey bro. Painter ehh...nice, you know, I see alot of artisan people who sell stuff here and make some money...you should be like one of those travelling hippy folk for a while. Good to hear about the place, because my plants have been raised to a point where if they died it would be very expensive to replace them. They are my prized possesions, second to my car, and high above the BBQ. Take good care of them, yourself, and Mom and Dad, and enjoy your biking trip. If you go to Golden contact Chelsea and party with her bad self, she lives out there and so does Cailin.
Take care bro, hugs and kisses from Peru!
Nice to hear from ya! The geology does rock my world, at there is no shortage of it here. I met a mining engineer from Vancouver here who can answer any of my questions about the rocks here. It is weird, the majority of mines here in Peru are CAnadian or Japanese owned...random fact of the day. They sure do exploit the lack of regulation here in lesser developed and regulated countries...greed overcomes capitalism.
Anyways, I am glad you could appreciate the monkey butt...you enjoy work, stay true to your own values (those mines can have some really detrimental impacts to our natural world...take care of it Trev!) and I hope to see ya later gator!
Besos from Peru!
Response: Hello Tio!
I will have to find the song, have only been hearing the traditional music of the locals as I am in a more remote area of Peru with a large indigenous influence on the population. That is ok if you get behind on my letters, I would prefer that actually, I wish more people were. I don´t always like the obligation of the internet and contact with eveyone, but at the same time, what convenience! Keep those employees in line, I am sure you are a good manager.
I have to fly but take care and I will see you later,
besos de Peru!
Response: Hey Chiquita bonita!
Actually there are lots of delicious veggie restaurants here, I hit them up for fresh salads and new crazy foods with grains and super tasty sweet potatoes grown here. THe great thing is, its even easier for vegetarians, and also gluten free/lactose free. I dont know why buy soy milk is super cheap, tastier, and since there is so much food produced here, its cheap and easy to find lots of stuff...and for some strange reason there are like 40 chinese restaurants in this town. YUM YUM. Anyways, I miss you dearly, keep up the good grow op!
Response: HAHA Cailin, you are supposed to put YOUR name under the column "senders name" not mine. I love you and you have made my morning. I really hope work treats you well and the kicking horse river gives you some wild rides, try to keep those tourists alive ehh!?
Check out my latest story on gri gris, and give yourself a hug from me,
Response: Hey hey there!
Huayhuash fue super bien! Y tu, como te fue Vallunaraju? Huaraz, y la casa de Lucho no es lo mismo sin las Mexicanas! Estoy mejor y lista para rumbiar, pero no hay una influencia Mexicana para mi, que lagrima...entonces, puedo esperar hasta Mexico. Cuidate y suerte en tus examens, una abrazo a ti y dale una a Isa!
Nos vemos chica!
Response: I am here, loving it, and wishing you were here! I have many many tips for you Abuelo, and am excited that you will get to return! Angie will be here for sure when you are here, and Damian will be in Argentina so if you can drop down and visit him! I will be here for maybe 3 more weeks. I would love to serve you a Pisco Heather, which lives on in 13 Buhos and now in the bar of Javier, Zero Drama. I hope work is going well and you enjoy my pictures. I hope they make you come sooner so we can meet up and do some climbing. Yeah...so probably the 20th at the latest (of June) here in Huaraz, the land we all know and love!
Besos Nathan, cuidate!
Response: Hey there sista!
Glad to hear your greenthumb is being put to work. I miss you lots and am glad we could chat...understandable about the e-mail...I basically just hate computers in general so meh. Send details sooner or later and I will call you back for some juicy gossip updates.
Lots of besos from me here in Huaraz!
Response: Hey Lauren!
Glad to here all is going good. The culture is really what makes an experience sometimes. Can you say many phrases in Thai? Do you need to or does the majority of the people speak english? I miss you lots too, hope your weather is better and has less rain, eat some tasty Thai food for me and give Lester a kiss for me,
Response: Hello there! Glad to hear from you! The picts are fun to take, would love to be a photographer or something of the like...dream jobs I guess. The experience is great, very memorable. I hear the house sold, goodbye Marshall staircase and happy cooking memories, much more to come when I come camp in your front yard in the mountains (will landscape for tent space).
Hope work is going good, congrats to Bob for being done, what a great feeling that must be.
See you guys soon, this fall,
Suerte, besos, y amor!