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Cam & Suz’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 14 May 2005

Location: Huaraz, Peru

MapWe decided that we would give Chimborazo a try so we hurriedly paid the cash and got fitted out for all the gear and quite a lot of gear was needed - snow boots, balaclavas, inner gloves, outer gloves, ice axe, ropes, crampons, waterproof pants, gaiters, more thermals, snow sunnies, head torches and more thermals! We felt like the abominal snowmen! We headed to the 1st refuge @ 4800m for lunch and then walked to the 2nd refuge @ 5000m for dinner and bed. Neither of us could sleep though as the altitude was already affecting us quite badly. The wake up call came at 11pm to get ready as we were to start climbing at 11:30pm. YTou must climb at night as the snow softens during the day which makes it prone to avalanches. We trudged through the snow with the snow falling for about 5 hours on all 4s at times due to the steep slope. The altitude was really taking its toll.... Cam with a monster headache and Sue feeling nauseous. The weather finally won out and we had to turn back arriving back at the refuge at about 6:30am. It was disappointing not to reach the summit of the mountain whos peak is the furthest point from the centre of the earth but at that point rest and warmth were all our bodies cared about.
Getting to our next destination was quite a journey riding on the roof of a train. What was meant to be a leisurely 4 hours turned into about 10 after several derailments and procrastination at its best with the conductors deciding to simply leave the offending car on the tracks and deal with it on the return journey! We finally made it to Cuenca which is the home of the Panama hat and our last stop in Ecuador.... did we say that our bags were busting before??!
Crossing into Peru broke the record for the number of scams - money changers with fixed calculators, fake notes, a dodgy policeman cum taxi driver taking us a quarter of the distance agreed, and an attempted bag snatch. We managed to arrive at the Peruvian beach town of Mancora unharmed which restored our faith in Peru. A few days of r&r and we were itching to get to the mountain region of Cordillera Blanca - arguably the most stunning scenery in Peru. This place really is breathtaking with 50 mountains all over 5700m. We´ve been here for 10 days and could easily spend a few months here. We´ve just finished a 4 day trek called Santa Cruz, which rivals 1st place for ¨wow¨factor on the treks we´ve done... the photos just don´t do it justice!
Our next stop is Lima.... Karen, see you there!!