Holy Cow!

Laguna 69 Mountain Hike – Peru Journal Day 4

Huaraz, Peru.
4:00am in Huaraz.

Peru Travel Journal Day 4 – Laguna 69, Ancash, Peru (AKA The Land of  a Thousand Inspiration Poster Backdrops)

It’s 4:00am and I’m up and ready to go for a mountain trek to Laguna 69, the bus comes to pick us up at 5:00am. I keep wondering who named this place the whole time I’m here, a bunch of high school kids? No one else even seems to acknowledge the humour in the name, so I guess I’ll just keep my mouth shut about it… Oh yeah, better remember to pack our lunches.

What time is it? Catching the bus to climb a mountain at 5:00am

On the bus now to go check out some lakes and mountains of Peru! I managed to wake up just fine for the early morning trek. I’m actually feeling fully refreshed and now regretting it a bit that we did not go out during the night to go check out all the fireworks and commotion. It’s a long weekend here, and today is Friday, so I am sure the party will keep going for tonight and beyond.

Two little pigs eating better than I did.

The bus made a pit stop in a rural village to get some breakfast. During the first night, when I couldn’t sleep, I read warnings on the internet about not to get the breakfast at these tour bus stops. I tried to go out and get some breakfast things last night, some granola bars or cookies maybe, street tamales, extra sandwich making supplies, or really anything for some extra energy. However, time (and maybe pisco) snuck up on me, and it just never happened. Luckily, we at least bought something for lunch while wandering Huaraz yesterday, I just forgot to grab extra food for breakfast and snacking. We’ve been to these bus stop, tourist trap restaurants that everyone says to avoid before, and to be honest, they are never even close to as bad as people say. Big whoop, they serve hamburgers or something not luxury, gourmet and local, as the reviews will say. This was different. This was our whole day’s food budget spent on two pieces of stale bread smeared with hard jam. Also a cup of coffee or coca tea and some orange juice, that my guess wasn’t freshly squeezed like it said, and likely just flavour crystals, because it tasted pretty darn average, at best to me. Maybe everything else was just adding up to even ruin the good thing. Jessica said she liked the juice.

Laguna Llanganuco. Ancash, Peru.
Adventure Boy is not a happy camper after bad breakfast.

Anyways, I think normally this would be a laughable experience (and I am sure it will be later), but this is before a big trek that will use a lot of energy and here they are messing with my breakfast. If it was cheap, that would be one thing, but this was more expensive than some fine dining back in Huaraz, and that just adds insult to the situation. Grrrr. Fun fact: bread is not like wine, it does not get better with age. We saw pigs in the yard on our way in. I’m starting to begin to think that maybe we got their food, or maybe it wasn’t even good enough for them is why we were served it. End of rant, we can only go up from here, both figuratively and literally.

Ancash, Peru.
It begins. This is where we were dropped off.
Player one has entered the game.
What do moo want?
Stone huts.
Passing by these stone huts as we hike through the valley.
Ancash, Peru.
Looking back before we start heading up.
Waterfall. Ancash, Peru.
Following the falls up the mountain.
Ancash, Peru.
Watch your step. Looking back down from the first stretch of the hike.
Mountain Pose.
Half way there! I was told to do a “mountain pose” to celebrate. I think I nailed it!
Mountain Valley.
Feeling like a Hobbit as we hop across rocks through the marshy mountain valley.
Mountains. Ancash, Peru.
Majestic views and a happy little cow grazing in the valley below.
Laguna 69
The blue water of Laguna 69.
Laguna 69
We made it!

Sitting at Laguna 69 right now. It was a BIG hike. I am now glad I slept instead of going out last night. Now, if only I hadn’t drank all that pisco, ginger ale and coffee last night as well. I walk a whole lot back home, all through the city, all day, every day, pretty much. But this was different. Simple things are leaving me winded. I will admit it, this thing is killing me. You know in movies when everyone is hiking and the one guy stops and just drops from exhaustion, usually comedically rolling down the mountain? Well, that is real, and me right now! At least that’s how I felt many times on the journey up here. Probably because the final destination of the lake is at 4600 meters high. Altitude is doing things to me, things I do not like, yet I can’t look away from it all, so it makes it all OK.

Deep Thoughts.
Deep thoughts and something inspirational.

Also you know how in movies how when people are hiking and think they’ve reached there destination just to find out, nope, there’s a whole other mountain to climb still. Well, that is real too. That happened at our half way point when it seemed we had already reached the top of a mountain, only to see the other chuck we had to climb across the valley. I am not a big fan of hiking right now. So so so very tired. The views however, the best things I have ever seen. Wonder what the journey back down will be like. Probably a whole lot less exhausting trekking downhill. Hopefully I don’t take the drop and roll way down. I’m not in that big of a rush to get it over with.

Laguna 69.
Happy Camper full of coca tea energy.

Meanwhile Jessica is sitting beside me virtually unaffected. Guess who didn’t drink all the pisco and coffee. Can you guess who has been drinking coca leaves like a champ preparing to get here? I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t me.

Holy Cow!
Holy cow! Are you guys seeing this?!
Mountain plants.
Checking out some plants.
Stone Ruins and Mountains.
Stone ruins in the valley. Only cows live here now.
End of hike pic.
What just happened? Are we dead?

Back on the bus and getting out of here. What a day, what an excellent and adventurous day! I mean, sure there were some bad times throughout it, but here I am writing the stories about it. Like for instance, how I got chased by a cow through stone ruins with my pants down. I guess life is just funny like that sometimes.

Made it back to Huaraz. It’s crazy the different climates we’ve been experiencing in such a short period of time. Yesterday I got a sun burn and couldn’t escape the heat, today I was being snowed on while almost touching iced capped mountains and sitting by glacier run offs. All in all, a good day. The afternoon has been pretty surreal, or more descriptively, like living inside the land of  a thousand stock photos, desktop background images and inspiration poster backdrops. I’m exhausted and hungry. Time to find something REAL to eat!

It’s good to be back in Huaraz.
Sunset. Huaraz, Peru.
The Sunset Hitting the Mountains.
Huaraz Sunset.
Sunset over the city. Time to find some night market street food.

Such a big day. Finally settling in on the rooftop and watching the fireworks before bed. We went back to the market and chowed down on plenty of street food. There are so many carts out selling tasty looking things. Gotta try ’em all! I think we did pretty good. We got cow heart, chicken skewers, tamales, cho cho salad with some not quite sure what on it and pumpkin doughnuts. Anyways, I am exhausted from waking up early and hiking those rad Peruvian mountains. This is where I say goodnight to you Huaraz. May the sound of all your fireworks, barking dogs and roosters give me sweet dreams tonight!

Peruvian Craft Beer
Well deserved and good night!


Taken from my travel notes. Originally written on November 3, 2017.

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