Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Ride down from Chanchani

Why is it that anything fun to do means leaving Arequipa at the dead of night. The plan for this ride was relatively simple. Catch the bus towards Puno at 3am - get off at a high point between the volcanoes Misti And Chanchani get on the bikes and ride back down to Arequipa. I went with Jesus and Dante.

Even at 3am the bus station was heaving - there were lots of people sleeping and waiting for buses and we bought our tickets from one of 50 or so bus companies. The evening before I went to the Marc Anthony concert at the university stadium. This was an interesting experience and I enjoyed event especially Eva Allyon a well known Criollan singer with hot rhythms and a big personality.

In the event I didn't get to sleep that night until we got on the bus. After only 2 hours sleep I woke to a perfect morning with no wind and excellent clear views of the volcanoes. We alighted at 4000 metres at a fork in the road for either Puno or Cuzco. There were a number of micro businesses and vendors, some toilets and petrol for sale that had to be siphoned it into large metal jugs!

At this altitude we set off at a steady pace and the first 10km was rolling countryside. I tended to fall back on the climbs an was grateful when I punctured for the forethought of Jesus in supplying walkie-talkies so we could keep in touch in the event of accidents or mechanical problems. Amazingly he also brought a track pump and a tripod for the camera and several sandwiches.  Eventually we began to descend back to 2,300 metres but not before seeing many vicuña crossing our path either singly or in groups - I love these graceful animals. As Pichu Pichu came into view we were circled by the three most prominent volcanoes.

As we descended the adrenalin set in as and we flew down wide and steep paths over rocky terrain with sweeping bends. The ride, as always was punctuated by photos at every point of interest. 

The last part of the ride was super fast asphalt and we finished our memorable journey with a nice lunch in Cayma overlooking the green valley and the Rio Chile. 

Photos to follow but this one of Chachani for now.

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