We didn’t fully know yet what we got ourselfs into when we left Cabanaconde at 7am with our big backpacks. We planned to camp in the canyon and supply ourselfs with food and water, therefore we started with camping equipment, clothes, food for two days and about 8,5 liters of water (all of which we drank to the last drop in those dry & hot two days).
For the whole trip “Forest” (he kept running around like crazy), a random dog from Cabanaconde, kept following us around and even slept next to our tent.
This was basically the whole way down until we reached San Juan de Chucchu. It led down very steep along the face of the canyon. At times there were rockslides which had whiped out the path and were quite difficult to cross at time. Half way down the canyon we met two Peruvians who told us that there had been an earthquake about 20 days ago because of which the path was in such bad condition. And later friends told us that tour operators wouldn’t even take this path anymore because it were to dangerous, but luckily we made it down all the way safely, 3 hours from start to the very bottom.
From the bottom we couldn’t even believe it ouselfs that we had just come down from there, and the actual is very hard to see from this angle. Nevertheless somewhere on the left of this cliff has to be the path down into the canyon…
San Juan de Chuccho was the first small oasis for us and provided a perfect spot for a short rest and a shady walk along the bottom of the canyon before we started back up on the other side towards the villages of Cosñihua and Malata.
Luckily we didn’t have to go too far up again, but nevertheless it was very hard work with all our luggage and after 1,5 hours in the sun we reached the first village and it was time for a big lunch break with some fruits and empanadas we had bought the day before at the market.
To Malata it was only a short and easy 20 mins walk, nevertheless a short break was a good idea:
Another 30 minutes or so we got to probably the best view into the canyon,
it was some kind of plateau about 1/3 up the hight of the canyon. It is located just above the Oasis of Sangalle. And at first we thought that we would stay and camp up there but then the pools of the oasis smiled to much at and we couldn’t resist.
The last hour back down to the Oasis of Sangalle seemed to fly by and after we knew it we were down there and in a pool. We paid 6 soles for the pool and camping for the both of us and food and drink we still had enough. So after the first day we had the longest part of the way behind us but the hardest, all the way back up to the top which just seemed like a vertical climb, still before us.
The next morning we overslept and didn’t start the hike up until 9:30am. This was definitly a mistake as the heat was just killing us after a while, which made the whole thing even harder. This picture must have been taken from a bit more than half the way up. The oasis kept getting further and further away from us but the zig-zags we took up the hill just seemed never ending and after each appeard three more.
After 3,5 – 4 hours later we finally reached the top totally exhausted but happy. Note our white faces because of all the SPF 50 sunblock we put on to not get totally roasted.
We took the 6h bus back to Arequipa and checked back into the same hostal as before, took a shower and met Cate, Laura, Philipp & Boris (all friends from Valparaíso) for dinner. It took a bit of convincing but after all we went out to a bar and club until shortly before 3am, when they had to take their bus to start their own Colca adventure. But I mean this was the last night we would all be together in South America, so there wasn’t really a choice…. Sorry guys, hope you slept well in the bus!