Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Colca Canyon

So I booked a two-day Colca Canyon trek and a trek up El Misti, and went and had dinner. I drank a delicious mixed fruit juice. It was so delicious it seemed somehow wrong. I got back to my hotel around 9.

They were coming to pick me up at 3am to leave for the trek, so if I got to bed right away, I'd still get a decent amount of sleep. I laid my head down, closed my eyes, and drifted softly over to the bathroom to puke my guts out. Then I peed out my butt for a while. I knew it. That fruit juice was too delicious to be true; They must have mixed it with water. Bastards.

I continued being sick for a while, but I wasn't going to let it stop my adventure. I knew if I set my mind to it I could overcome the sickness and still make it through the trek. I truly believe the mind has the power to cure the body, plus I had already paid for my spot on the tour.

So 3 rolled around, and I was ready to go. I got in the comfortable touristy bus-van and drifted off as we drove the few hours to the canyon. Our first stop was at Cruz del Condor, a cliffy area where condors are known to fly regularly. It was so touristly I nearly shit and puked at the same time, but it was still beautiful.


Also i got to see this sign which made it worthwhile:

"Don't not pass." Are you telling me I have no choice but to pass over the edge of this cliff?!

After our allotted time at this point of interest, we were herded up to head to the departure point of our hike. Apparently, it's pretty hard to measure the depth of a canyon. Colca Canyon was once considered the deepest in the world. Estimates of its depth (that I found via google) range from 3200 to over 4100 meters. Wikipedia says it's 4160 meters deep, which I like, because it makes me look tough. Either way, it was large.

Big ol' canyon:

We started hiking. When I wasn't focused on clinching my butthole closed, the views were spectacular. Luckily this first day was spent hiking down into the bottom of the canyon, so it wasn't very physically challenging. Unless you consider keeping you sphincter fearfully flexed for a 6-hour hike challenging.

One of the views:

We got down to a hotel at the bottom of the canyon right as the sun was setting. I put down my stuff and laid down to relax, thinking the worst of my sickness had passed. Soon they called everyone to dinner, and instead I went to the bathroom to puke and then shit. Luckily I puked first, because when I did a little bit splashed up and hit me in the face. I remember thinking: "I didn't want to puke and shit myself at the same time until drinking ayahuasca!"

The next morning was spent climbing up out of the canyon, more than 3000 meters straight up. I felt a lot better than the day before. That being said, I was dehydrated, weak, and hadn't eaten in a day, and I was still one of the first few in our group to reach the top. I'm saying this not to brag about my strength, but rather to point out and ridicule the weakness of the others. Some of them had to pay for donkeys to carry them up. You pay a bunch of money to go on a hike, then pay more money not to hike? There's one word for that: fatass. or is that two words?

It took me about 3 hours to climb out of the canyon. By the time I was done with this, I no longer felt sick. Now I just had to wait 7 more hours for the rest of the group to arrive. I was happy for the time to rest though, and the view was gorgeous.

Made it out alive, and without shitting my pants!:

On the way back we were stuffed into a much less comfortable van than the one we arrived in. We stopped at some hot springs, which was glorious. We got back to Arequipa late that night.

As I had planned it, I would be leaving early the next morning to climb a 5800 meter mountain. Luckily, I'm a loner and nobody else had signed up to climb El Misti that day. There were, however, a group of guys climbing Chachani a day later, so I got to rest and recover for a day before taking on the beast. I resisted the delicious fruit drinks during my rest day.

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