Monday 18 May 2009

Boliva Expedition Update.

Having survived the colca canyon we were rewarded with a couple of days at the beach; we swam, ate and sunbathed (some of us a bit too much). In typical group style it took a whole day to prepare a barbecue but it was well worth it in the end. Our next stop was the legendary nazca lines, an experience enjoyed by all except fred, whose stomach was not quite up to the turbulent landing. Fortunately we were able to relax at the pool in Huacachina despite the presence of some rather rotund characters. As the sun began to set we raced across the dunes rollercoaster-style in two sand buggies. Most people were fairly competant on the practice sand-boarding slope, with the exception of Harry, who managed to roll the whole way down. After a beautiful sunset we had one final ride and then returned to the hostel for a wonderful meal. The next morning, sore and stiff, we took a boat to the Islas Ballestas (the 'poor mans Galapagos') to look at A LOT of sea lions, penguins and birds. There was a fairly pungent smell lingering and for once it was neither Barney's farts nor Fred's feet. Later that day we had to say goodbye to Johnny our private bus driver in Pisco on route to Lima. Our afternoon in Lima was spent indulging in the finest of Western traditions - bowling and cinema, before taking a luxury night bus to Huaraz the Peruvian trekking Mecca. While Sarah commenced an 8 day career as team nurse with Orlando, the others went on the first of two acclimatisation walks. At the end of the walk we were met by Orlando and Sarah for a surprise bridge swing.

Everyone managed to do it even though some needed more persuasion than others. The second walk turned into a high altitude game of 40-40 thanks to a conveniently placed land slide. Our next adventure was The Huayhuash Circuit, minus two (Harry and therefore Sarah), and Giardia proved too much for Hattie and we lost her at our first campsite in Llamac. Whilst that was a tough loss to bare we did win our first football match against foreign opposition. The trek started with a 4300m pass which was followed by a 4 hour hike downhill to our 2nd campsite; Matt was somewhat slowed down by the prescence of Gringo (the ambulance horse). We woke up the next morning to frozen tents and yet another porridge and raison delight. Fortunately this day only consisted of a day walk so the tents did not have to come down, and we made our way up to the first lake. Sadly this is where we lost Fred, but the rest of us soldiered on to the second lake at 4900m. After much encouragement we made it up to 5000m a milestone in treking especially for Orlando who had salmonella. Having frolicked in the snow we made our way back to camp on route picking up a freezing Fred. Our penultimate day saw us climb out of the valley up to a pass of 4700m. The final day was a "short" 4 hours back to Llamac where we met our buses back to Huaraz. After a day of extreme canyoning and dog rescuing we had our 'Xtreme' leaving party, which left the bar without a significant portion of its glasses, thanks to Harry's Coyote Ugly-style acrobatics. And that concluded Phase 2 of our expedition - next stop: Huanchaco...

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