Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Near Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico.

Where are they going next? Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Our first day hike in Peru

We are at the beginning of the rainy season here, but that doesn't mean that it rains all day long. In fact yesterday we woke up to sunshine and blue skies. Perfect for our first hike in Peru.

There is a pre-Incan ruins site about 6 kms (3.7 miles) from our residence. And it's an uphill climb of about 1,300 feet in that distance, so it would be good exercise and we would see how our bodies are adjusting to the altitude.

We set off at about 10:30am... (don't forget that you can click on any photo to make it full screen.)

It didn't take long to start to get out of the urban area.

And soon we were in the countryside.

This guy was carrying some kind of musical instrument.

Scenery along the way.


Quite a few different views of the mountains.







It took us two hours to reach the ruins site.

As we approached the ruins site, I saw a sign pointing to a mirador (lookout) further down the road. There were a group of locals waiting for a collectivo, so we went and asked them how far it was to the mirador. They were very friendly and asked us where we were from and how long we were in Peru for. It turns out though, that the mirador was another 3 hours walk! 

The ruins site is located at 11,300' altitude. We did pretty well doing 1,300 feet higher, but we certainly notice the difference. We paid 5 soles ($2 CAD, $1.50 USD) each to enter the ruins site. There's not really much to see, only two buildings. But it's a nice spot, and they have a small museum there as well. We wandered around and then found a spot to sit and have lunch.

This mausoleum was built sometime between 900 and 1100AD.

A local cemetery beside the ruins property.

Hmm. There must be a way to get up to that cross!

A few other people visiting.
We only saw one other gringo couple.

We sat and had our lunch and this fellow wanted some too!

We found the path that leads from Willkawain to Ahuac Lake. We knew that we wouldn't make it to the lake itself... it's another 5 kms (3 miles) and the lake sits at 15,000'. But we figured the path might take us up as far as the cross for a nice view of the valley.

It was only 1.4 kms (less than a mile)... but it rises another 650 feet in that 1.4 kms, so it's quite steep. It was tough going, and we really noticed it didn't take much effort to get out of breath. But, we persevered.

Locals have been using this path for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Small steps... one foot in front of the other.

The Peruvian Andes are the second highest mountain range in the world next to the Himalayas.

Beautiful sky.

A nice spot to take a break at 11,500 ft.
Ruth was contemplating how she was going to make that last 500 ft!

Ruth actually got to the point where the altitude was really affecting her. I noticed it too, but altitude affects everyone differently, and they say that it doesn't matter what kind of physical condition you are in. We had to stop and rest every five minutes or so.

We didn't have far to go, but Ruth told me to carry on and get some photos in case she decided she had enough. I made it to the cross, and saw Ruth carrying on down below. She doesn't like to give up!

Ruth, making her way up to the cross.

Looking down on the city of Huaraz.

There is a storm brewing in the distance!

I had met some locals on the path, and asked them about the storm coming. They said yes, it will rain, but much later. Hopefully we would make it back home before the rain starts.

Almost there!

Made it!
Look at those clouds coming in!

Us, and the view.

Made it to 12,000 ft.

Of course going down was much faster. Oh, and our boots finally feel like they're supposed to. No problems with our feet yesterday at all.

Didn't take many photos on the way down because we followed the same route. We made it about half way before it started spitting with rain. We didn't have any rain gear with us, so we decided to bite the bullet and took a collectivo back to town from there. 

We had done a total 10.5 kms (6.5 miles) before we hopped in the van. 

This little one is not very old!

We've almost certainly decided that we will stay here longer than one week. We love this type of area, and there are so many hiking opportunities. And it looks like it will take another day or two to get used to the altitude and we want to do some of the hikes that take you above 15,000 ft. If you think today's photos were good, wait until you see some of the higher ones!

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22 comments:

  1. Please be careful at the higher altitudes. Easy does it.

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    1. Yes, we are being very careful and when we are hiking we are doing it at a slow but steady pace. We definitely know our limits. :-)

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  2. Replies
    1. We push it a little but we are also being very careful, we certainly know our limits.

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  3. Replies
    1. Yes, it was a great first hike and the views were beautiful. :-)

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  4. I remember climbing several peaks over 14,000 in the Rocky's and Sierra's and the old huff&Puff. Altitude sickness, and the dangerous pulmonary edema is no joke. Got a taste of it backpacking over a 12,000+ pass once without acclimation and got a migraine so bad I threw up and slept on a steep incline since it stopped me in my tracks. It took several days, since there was no way to get down other than hiking, to feel better. To this day I'm in aw of those who climb the great Himalaya peaks without supplemental O2.

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    1. We just did hiking in Bristle Cone area in the Sierras. We drove up to the visitor center but had to hike to the top. I had a slight headache and shortness of breath but not much else. All this in one day. We camped in 25 degree weather at the foothills.

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    2. It gets pretty high in those White Mtns. If you go to the end of the paved rd and take the dirt road to the locked gate it's close to 11,000+ ft. Usually(Labor day weekend) they open the gate and you can drive up to the research center which makes for a great starting point to climb White mtn which is over 14,000. People will camp at Grandview(9,000) and acclimate and then bag the peak from the research ctr in a one day hike. I really like it up there!

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    3. Yikes that doesn't sound fun at all. We are glad that everything turned out well for you. We are definitely being careful, we do push ourselves a bit but we also know our limits.

      We are in awe at those that climb the Mount Everst, period with or without supplemental oxygen! That is certainly not something that we ever want to try to accomplish.

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  5. It's a beautiful area for sure. A friend and I went to Macchu Picchu and Ollantaytambo a few years ago and I would return in a heartbeat. Though parts were crowded which I did not like, the countryside and people were wonderful. I'll be following your trip with a little jealousy!

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    1. Yes, it sure is! One day we will head to the Scared Valley area but not on this trip. From everything we see it is definitely gorgeous but the crowds and the impact that it has on area puts us off. Plus everything is inflated, price wise because of that. We really enjoy going to places that aren't high on the tourist route, and this area certainly is one of those places. :-)

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  6. Looks like a great area to stay for awhile. Great pictures!

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    1. It definitely is! This is a really pretty area and there is certainly lots for us to do. :-)

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  7. Well done you two that's a big hike up anywhere and more so in altitude

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    1. Thank you very much! We will be doing lots more of that over the next week or two. :-)

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  8. Been to Peru over 30 times since 2005 and been all over even very remote areas of mountains, jungles and the desert.
    It is a beautiful place.

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    1. Wow, that is a lot of times visiting here. We do agree there is a lot to see and do in the country with all kinds of ecosystems. Three weeks is definitely not enough time to explore this beautiful country.

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  9. Great photos. It always amazes me how people live and thrive in such high altitudes. Good idea to stay longer. Take more time to acclimate. Stay well.

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    1. Thank you Lynnette!

      Yes, it amazes us too, especially when we see them running around or climbing the hills with such ease but I guess when you are born at that altitude you are just used to it.

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  10. What a beautiful hike! Having to stop and rest every five minutes reminds me of our Wheeler Peak summit hike in New Mexico. The elevation at the peak is just over 13,000', and we were not acclimated to that elevation at all, as we did the hike on a bit of a whim (I know, crazy kids!) I was suffering on the way up, but Barry did well. I did finally make it, though, and the views made it all worth it. On the way down, we ran into rain below the treeline and got soaked. It was a very adventurous day, that's for sure. Looking forward to catching up on your blog as my laptop crashed (bad motherboard), and I had to buy a new one and get it set up while visiting family in the US. Back in Mexico now and catching up on computer-related tasks!

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    1. It was a fantastic hike, even if it was extremely challenging with the high altitude and thin air but we did it and that is what counts. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous.

      Sounds like you know exactly what we were experiencing because it was no doubt much the same with as the hike you did in New Mexico.

      Sorry to hear about your computer, sounds sort of like the problems I had in Australia this summer when I had to buy a new computer too. :-(

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