Colorado to Huaraz  June 30th - July 1st

All Packed Up

Dealing With My Fear Of Flying

At The Lima Airport

Killing Time Before The Bus Ride To Huaraz

Sandy Cliffs

The Cordillera Negra

First Views Of The Cordillera Blanca

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Around Huaraz  July 2nd - July 3rd

Coffee At Cafe Andino

View In Huaraz

Market In Huaraz

More Miscellaneous Huaraz

Preparing Our Food For The Rest Of The Trip

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 Acclimatization On Vallunaraju  July 3rd - July 4th

The Road To Vallunaraju

Ranrapalca, On The Way To Vallunaraju


Cool Ice Cave

Sunset, From Camp

Starting Up The Glacier

On The Way To Crevasse Practice

Starting Crevasse Practice

Jared, Climbing The Rope, Out Of The Crevasse

Brian, In The Crevasse

Cool Ice & Snow Formations, In The Crevasse

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Back To Huaraz July 4th - July 5th

Taxi Driver Hearding Sheep

Lunch In Huaraz

Many Pictures From Our Trip To Enrique's (The Owner Of Monta Rosa) House

Enrique's Yard

Enrique's View

A Couple Of Enrique's Birds 

Inside Enrique's House

Enrique's Scarlet Macaw

Myself and Enrique, with a baby Blue & Gold Macaw and Several Amazons

Enrique's Turtle

A Rose

Another Rose

More Shopping In Huaraz

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Llaganuco Valley To Climb Pisco Oeste July 6th to July 8th
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Llaganuco Valley To Yannapaccha July 8th to July 11th
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Back In Huaraz July 11th to July 13th
Brian and I walked up to the road leading out of the Llaganuco valley around 9:45 Tuesday morning.  We passed by the donkeys and the little hut which sold drinks, over the bridge, and finally up to the meeting point where buses and cabs dropped off climbers and trekkers.  I had come to this beautiful valley full of trepidation due to my sickness but after spending a week here was sorry to have this place be relegated to memory.   We spent a few minutes looking back over the valley until our crazy driver came (on time, as always, I'll give him that).

Llaganuco Valley, For The Last Time

As usual, the drive was terrifying.  Our driver would fly around corners on dirt roads with trucks, buses, people, livestock, dogs, etc around every corner. He would rely on a few honks of the horn to warn anyone he was coming.  At the exit gate to the part he slammed his breaks and skidded under the gate, coming to a stop with the cross bar less than an inch from our window.  At one point on the way down Marco screamed 'Slow Down', everyone laughed, and he kept flying.  I tried to focus on Huscaran and the beauty of the area but something about going 120 KPH through towns with posted limits of 35 KPH and passing cars on blind corners kept me a bit edgy.  After we almost ran face first into an oncoming semi on an area marked 'Dangerous' I did the only rational thing I could and went to sleep.  I think it was sort of like the expectant death sleep everyone undergoes right before a plane takes off.  When I awoke we were once again safe and back in Huaraz.

Leaving The Llaganuco Valley

Brian and I bid our farewells to Marco and Hyme and Brian gave Marco a decent headlamp to replace his poor one.  After dropping the guys off at Mont Climb we headed back to Cafe Andino where Chris had already booked a room at his Mother In Law's place.  We were a bit dissapointed as we really liked the other place but were to tired to really care.  

The one huge perk was that this place had hot water so we both took long showers and cleaned the accumulated stink of many days off.  After this we packed up and set out to make a few calls, go shopping, call our respective loved ones, and have dinner.  At the place I had picked up Alpaca sweaters early in the trip I noticed a cute little silver statue of an Alpaca carrying a bunch of turquoise rocks.  It was listed at 170 soles.  I kept going back until I eventually got it for 130 soles the next day.  

On Tuesday night we went to Patrick Creperies for dinner and I ordered Cuy, a local dish of some fame.  Cuy is essentially just Guinea Pig and is generally served as a whole, deep fried animal.  I figured I might not be able to eat it but at last I would get a good picture.  Unfortunately for my viewing audience the meal consisted of the thighs only and they weren't discernible as being from a guinea pig. Cuy tasted like chicken.  Brian also decided to pick up another bottle of Coca liquor as it is (obviously) not available in the states. After dinner we stopped by Monte Rosa where I got to met Enrique's wife.  We all chatted for a while and I discovered she raised bees for honey.  This made for the perfect final gift for Jen's parents as her father loves honey.  I picked him up a jar of Eucalyptus honey and Brian and I headed off to sleep.

In the morning Chris had his assistant get us to Hotel Colomba. We had decided to splurge for our last night in Huaraz and stay at a posh place.  This hotel had beautiful gardens, nice rooms, and the owners rehabilitated wild birds.  One such bird they had was a beautiful Harpy Eagle.  This creature has a permanently broken wing so can not be released,  If anyone reading this knows of a zoo that might place this creature they are looking for a home for it.

Our room came equipped with a bathtub (with jets), a television, and two nice beds. We aquainted ourselves with the hotel policies and then I lay around watching tv while Brian read and wrote in his journal before we stepped out for lunch.

It's Important To Read The Rules When in a 3rd World Hotel

 Lunch consisted of about 6 courses for 1.25$ US per person.  Of course to much of it (jello, juice, etc) might have used the water so I only ate about half of it.  From lunch it was back to Colomba to check the (free) Internet, relax a bit more, and then head to town for a good Thai dinner.

When dinner was over we headed over to Cafe Andino and settled up with Chris.  We dropped Marco a 100 sole tip and let Chris know we were quite displeased with Hymes performance.  Since you have to pay for all the days you book a guide regardless of whether you use one or not we figured a free day of pay would be the only tip Hyme needed.  When you couple laziness with getting lost, generally apathy, using the porter to do all your route-finding and not having adequate protection for roped climbing you have a guide that needs to spend less time picking up American work ethics.  Oh well, live and learn, no more guides for me, ever.  I'll just retain a porter who knows how to get to the glaciers edge on the next trip.  

After meeting with Chris I went to call Jen and let her know all was well and then headed back to Monte Rosa to bid our farewells and, as usually happened, ended up staying longer than intended.  This time Enrique took Brian and I around to the back of the store and showed us a huge collection of antiques he had.  The man is really quite a collector.  He had everything from old swords and guns to a working Victrola.  He gave both Brian and myself keepsakes in the form of sharks teeth, stones, and feathers.  After a few more drinks we exchanged emails and said goodbye.  It was interesting to have had as many conversations with Enrique as I did considering my poor Spanish.

After Monte Rosa we headed back to the hotel where we both passed out.  When I awoke in the morning I found that the extremely comfy, down pillow had given me cramps throughout my back and neck.  This necessitated several Advil and a long bath but was fortunately painful enough that it took my mind off of my rib (which I now was beginning to suspect was not broken).  After Brian woke up we went to the dining room at the hotel and had breakfast.

Breakfast At Hotel Colomba

Once breakfast was over we had a cab drop us off at the bus terminal, checked our bags and headed back into the city (where a strike of elementary school teachers was underway). We did a bit of final shopping for t-shirts and drinks and then returned to the station where we waited to board the bus.
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Back Home To Colorado July 13th to July 14th
Brian and I boarded the Movil Tours bus at 12:45 (15 dollars/person for first class), Thursday, July 13th. As Chris had mentioned we were careful to check our bags only through to the first stop in Lima. Realizing that we would have a LONG time before we actually got home we had been sure to each fortify a 1.5 liter bottle of Coke with a small bottle of rum.  In this manner we hoped to sleep, at least part of, the 38 or so hours it would take us to get back to our houses.

While the guys in Lima had been pretty anal about checking our bag weight and charging us, the people in Huaraz didn't bother (good for us we were 20 kilos over) and we ended up paying no over charges for the bus ride back.

The ride on the bus went quite smoothly and we were happy to have upgraded our seats from those we had on the Cruz Del Sur bus in the beginning. The only way to describe these seats is to liken them to Barco Loungers.  Each seat reclined almost to a lying position and had a generous footrest. The ride from Huaraz to Lima featured a few awful films on small tv's which (other than Agent Cody Banks 2) we mostly ignored.  Brian dozed some while I mostly read through a crappy John Saul novel I had paid 10 soles for.  The only downside to the ride was the noisy Peruvian rich guy behind us.  I think that you can gauge the personal income of Peruvians by their loudness.  Fortunately he shut up when cell phone reception stopped being available.

Going Home
The bus ride back was much smoother than the one to Huaraz as the darkness hid much of the huge cliffs and great expanses of sand and rock that appeared to be waiting to sweep us off the road and Brian was too tired to talk about all the ways we might die from said occurrences.  We pulled into the bus station around 9:00 and were promptly approached by a cab driver who offered to take us to the airport for 25 soles.  Upon arriving at the airport (9:30) we were informed that we could not check our baggage until ~4:00 AM.  

We stopped briefly at a local bar for a couple beers where we met an American backpacker whose grand plan involved harvesting hallucinogenic secretions from toads in Arizona to fund his travels.  He didn't seem to know quite when or where or how to execute his plan but was relatively confident in its success. At some point a little girl wandered by to sell candy, the American, being a sucker for kids, paid a sole for a few pieces of hard candy, me, hating kids but being a sucker for candy, paid a sole for the candy.  After the little girl left I turned to the American, bid him good luck and  set out for dinner with Brian.

After a bit of hauling 200 lbs of stuff around and a quick bite from McDonalds (punctuated by irritating noisy, American, Jesus freak teenagers) we decided against moving around much more and went off in search of a place to sleep.

We were fortunate to find a nice little recess in front of two doors where we pulled out our sleeping pads, made an L around our gear (theft in Lima is an issue), and lay down.  I spent a little while reading before falling asleep.  Our nap was interrupted several times by cleaners, gawkers, and, for no apparent reason, a marching band practicing at 2:00 AM.   When 4:00 AM rolled around we blearily opened our eyes, moved out of the way for someone who needed to use the doors we were blocking, and headed to check our baggage.  

After about an hour of  checking baggage, a slight scare that Brian's Coca liquor had been discovered (they didn't end up caring), passing through security, and showing our tickets and passports about 20 times we found ourselves finally waiting at the gate.

The plane ride to Miami from Lima went smoothly and we arrived around 1:00 PM. As the featured film was '8 Below' I decided to sleep for most of the flight. On the whole I slept quite well and was way too exhausted to be bothered overmuch by being on an airplane.  Upon arriving in Miami we passed through customs, had our Rum and Coke spotted by a beagle, and went in search of more reading material for the final flight.  Passing customs for US citizens was  a breeze, we went through the fast lines, joked with the agents, and effectively walked through the process.  Once past customs, we headed to a restaurant where we hung out for several hours drinking and playing cards.  When it was 7:00 we headed to our gate and waited a short while before boarding the plane.  

On the plane Brian bought the last round of snacks and drinks and we then both passed out until shortly before arriving in Denver around 10:30 Friday the 14th, July, 2006.

Once in Denver we headed over to baggage, met Jen and headed home.  I unpacked everything that night while Brian waited for his girlfriend to pick him up, we said our goodbyes, and then, after 38 or so hours of travelling, I went to sleep.  

It was a grand adventure but it is a LONG, LONG way between Boulder and Huaraz.  As much as I thought I wouldn't want to do it again in the beginning all I can think of now is the next trip (Jen will have to be on this one).
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