We climb our way out of one of the deepest canyons in the world at high altitude and under a blazing sun…needless to say, it wasn’t easy.
After an amazingly restful 11 hours of sleep after our descent into the world’s second deepest canyon (guess we needed to catch up on sleep!) we packed up, ate our Cliff bars, and began the exhausting trek out of the canyon.
Location: COLCA CANYON (Cañon del Colca) Date: 5 July 2010 Start Elevation: 7,300 ft. (Sangalle el Oasis) End Elevation: 10,849 ft. (Cabanaconde)
This was a TOUGH hike…given the altitude, rough terrain, and direct sun. Our hearts were pounding (Lori says even more than hiking out of the Grand Canyon) and quads were burning. We stopped frequently to catch our breath and drink water in the shade, which became increasingly difficult (if not impossible) to find as the hours wore on.
We frequently had to move aside for the dozens of burros (mules) heading down the canyon, and almost got taken out by a couple of them; quarters were tight!
We had a nice sit down break in the shade when we were almost to the top to refuel with fruit snacks and jerky. We were relieved to have finally made it so close to the end…and in just over three hours!
We treated ourselves to a lunch for 5 soles each (like $1.50!) and enjoyed some Inca Kola at a small, family-run restaurant. We enjoyed watching a stray dog and the proprietor play cat-and-mouse, and listening to a dating-advice-meets-Jerry-Springer show on TV until a small child came marching angrily from another room to turn it off (apparently disgusted by the poor reception).
Tickets in hand, we started the bumpy 6-hour ride back to Arequipa. During the first three hours, we caught the evening rush hour as the driver stopped every couple of minutes to pick up vendors, merchants, farmers, laborers and school children and deposit them in one of four small villages we barreled through at breakneck speed. We followed a long line of trucks on windy roads into Arequipa, checked into Caminante Class and prepared for our trip to Cuzco the next day.