Mountains are a part of nature that we both find absolutely fascinating. Although we have probably mentioned this more than once before, we never tire of admiring majestic mountains and spending hours climbing and hiking through them. This is the reason why the Rocky Mountains, the Andean Mountain Range and the Himalayas top our list of destinations. Having admired the Rockies in September we are now also able to tick The Andes from our list. This time including some absolute altitude records 🙂
High: We start with the Canyon del Colca, (one of the deepest canyons in the world) situated some 5 hours drive to the North of Arequipa, Peru. While the Grand Canyon is 1600m deep, this canyon is twice as deep with a descent of 3,200 meters at its deepest point. We decide to do a two-day trek in the canyon and for the first time in our lives we give hiking a bit of a turn: first descending and the next day ascending. Bearing in mind that in this case ascending logically follows descending, we decide to “only” descend 1,200 meters. We arrive at a beautiful oasis where we spend the night. During our descent, we walked through the canyon, passing several villages. The inhabitants of these villages are used to running up and down the canyon several times a week by way of morning exercise. This is the only way they are able to reach the shops and buy groceries etc. They are very friendly and we assured them of our admiration concerning their irrigation systems!
Higher: A little bit more of a challenge awaits us on the 13th of December, a day we have been looking forward to since the beginning of our trip. Although Machu Picchu and Canyon del Colca don’t differ much regarding height/depth, walking up Machu Picchu is a lot more challenging! Indeed, when you really want to experience what it must have been like to reach the lost city with the valley as starting point, you’ll have to go climbing. Ascending 400 meters of stairs in a race against the sun is quite a challenge. And it didn’t stop there: we climbed another 300 metres to see the Inca kings’ and queens’ abode. After descending the 300 metres, we thought it might be interesting to see where the ancient Inca’s arrived at their city, so we climbed another 400 meters to reach the Sun Gate. We can at least promise you that the lost city is so much more impressive in real life than any photograph can convey and that the life of an Inca must have been quite tiring 🙂 Would you like to see a detailed version of the above described day? Click here!
Highest: We arrive in Bolivia at the largest high altitude lake in the world. Lake Titicaca lies at about 4000 meters above sea level. La Paz, the capital of Bolivia is situated on the same altitude and is therefore the highest capital in the world. Even my father, during a bright moment asked: “Do people really live there?”. Lake Titicaca is located partly in Peru and partly in Bolivia and is surrounded by several peaks of 6,000 meters high. Quite some islands are situated in the centre of the lake, including “Isla del Sol”, where we spent the weekend. It was fun spending time amongst the indigenous people who speak Spanish just as well as we do 🙂 Fortunately, we all have hands and feet to try our best at sign language. To reach our hostel, we had to climb a mere 20 metres, but nevertheless we stood panting every time after this extreme exercise!
By the way, our ultimate high experiences and adventures at 5000 meters and higher will follow later on in our last blog about South America!
With our warmest regards from only 2500 meters above sea level where breathing is fun again and we’re even able to utter a full sentence while walking…!