If there is one thing that will blow you away in South America it is the mountain ranges. Yes, the Alps and the Rockies are impressive too, but the Andes make them look small. From the Pacific coast we headed back up into the mountains to camp at 4000 meters / 12000 ft + altitude. The shortcut up into the valley of Callejon de Huaylas take us through Canyon del Pato, and this is a spectacular drive.
The road is rough and at places carved out of the side of the canyon.
After a long day's drive from Trujillo we arrived in the town of Caraz in the evening. This is one of the towns at the base of the mountain range of Cordillera Blanca and is a starting point for mountaineers wanting to hike and climb in the area. As we didn’t have up-to-date info about camping in the national park, we spent the night in Caraz in the backyard of a hotel in the city center. The next morning we took off and drove up and up and up a narrow valley to Lago Peròn at 4200 meters where we popped the roof tent.
Above us were several 6000 meter / 18000 ft snow capped mountains.
We also wanted to drive across this mountain range, and a few kilometers south of Huaraz there are a couple of roads going up into and over the mountains. This is just south of the snow capped peaks, but if the weather is good you will have stunning views along these roads. Unfortunately, the weather turned on us just at the critical place, and we had no views of these peaks at all… But the road is still VERY scenic.
And it is amazing that you can see signs of farming even at this elevation. All fences are made of stone.
In this area is also a tree (which is actually in the pinapple family) found only a couple of places in the world.
At the highest pass on this road we were at 4878 meters above sea level. Engine and people still running, but at a slightly slower pace than normal…
Leaving the Cordillera Blanca we drove east to find an alternative route south towards Cuzco and Machu Picchu. More soon!E&M