Waiting for good weather in Huaraz
... After coming back from Chile, our plan was to ride back to Huaraz to spend some time trekking in the beautiful Cordillera Blanca. It is still rainy season they say until May, but April does have breaks of sunshine... But not this season! Some say they had never seen as much rain this April, neither did we.
When we first arrived, it rained hard for several days, we decided to keep our hopes up and wait it out. The weather showed a bit of open windows with morning clear sky, but soon the clouds would come once again with mid afternoon thundershowers.
We packed our bags to set off the next morning on a 4 day trek - The Santa Cruz - one of the most popular treks of Cordillera.
As we were getting some food from next doors mini market of our hostel " Joe's Place" - we ran into Joe. (An X British climber that started an awesome guesthouse with his Peruvian partner Vickie) - we told him about our plan, it didn't take long for him to talk us out of it... telling us it was more of a " Gringo Tourist Walk " than anything.
So we changed our plans... " mostly the idea of a 2 1/2 hour bus ride to the start of the trail head and another 3 hour bus ride from the end of the trail back to Huaraz, didn't appeal to us.
As we woke up the next morning with heavy rain once again, we were very happy with our decision.
It's Semana Santa ( Holy Week) this week lots of celebrations are happening in town. We enjoyed our time walking around town checking things out.
"It's April 15th, the weather will change" said Joe. And it did. The sun finally came out. The mountains were caked with fresh snow. Angela and I set off on our bikes to Llanganuco Valley to hike up to Laguna 69. A beautiful turquoise lake at 4600 meters surrounded by several high peaks over 6000 meters.
The morning sunshine looked promising, we were psyked.
As we go in the Valley, the clouds beat us to it. As usual the afternoon shower was coming. We decided to go on our mission anyways.
The trail was muddy but still beautiful, with once in a while clear open windows of the surrounded peaks. As we arrived over 4400 meters, we rested for a while sipping on tea and decided not to continue the next hour walk to the lake itself since it was getting late and rain had started to come down. So we made our way back to our bikes.
It was now past 6 pm and darkness was coming and needed to get out of the valley. A 30 kms dirt road, pissing rain and now misty and dark. It was slow going. Normally we ride up in 45 minutes. As we were nearly back in Yungay ( the town at the bottom of the road) I saw Angela's bike light always behind me. After passing several curves, I didn't see the light. So I stopped and waited - few minutes went by - strange, she was just behind me. I was getting worried, so I went to start my bike to ride back up the hill. When I noticed her coming down. She arrived a little shaky, full of mud. " What happen" I asked. A stupid dog had came out of nowhere and jumped in front of her bike made her loose it and dropped her bike. ( Dogs are the # 1 Danger of the roads!!)
After several minutes calming herself down. Nothing had happen to her - Thank God! Only mud all over her pants and a broken hand guard.
Now we had an hour ride back to Huaraz. It stopped raining. Angela was good to go, so we started making our way looking forward to a warm shower and meal.
Not even 10 minutes down the road, the rain started again. Heavy rain! we were now soaked to the bones, cold, tired. But knew we didn't have long to go, so the thought of warm shower kept us going. 15 minutes more, we were home free. Not so Yet! All of a sudden, a line of traffic... shit... what happen??? An accident or something??? we ride pass all the cars to the front. A wall of 2 meter high mud. A landslide had come down over the road. Some guys told us it would be closed for at least 3 hours!
Angela and I looked at each other, soaked, shivering, only 15 minutes and we were home.... after being wet for the last 3 hours!
We turned around, and rode to the closest Hotel we could find. Luckily we didn't have to ride more then 15 minutes before we found an hotel. (the only one!)
As we pulled in now more then soaked, Angela covered with mud. The owner of the hotel looked at us... " habitacion?" si !!!
How much is your cheapest room? " 100 soles" he says.. What!!! 4 times what we pay in Huaraz. He knew we were stuck, we told him about the road being closed and that we didn't have much money with us. We had a long day, we were wet, tired, hungry and in need of a warm shower ASAP.
"You have something cheaper - like 50 soles" I asked... hold on... "si"
We are not sure if he tried to pull the Gringo Price on us, knowing that we had nowhere to go or he just felt sorry for us.
But he gave us a room for 50 soles. We unloaded our muddy bags, happy to be out of the rain, hung everything we had in every corner of the room. Mud dripping everywhere ... we didn't feel sorry one bit! Enjoyed hot showers and filled our appetite with a romantic cookies dinner.
No T.V. in our expensive room to watch. We jumped under the blankets still shivering from the cold until we fell asleep and hoped to wake up with a blue sky the next morning...
And we did!!!