Tuesday, February 23

Day 1: Bus Breakdown/Moonlit Descent

Mom and I left Arequipa at 4 am for the six-hour ride to Chivay the northern-most town in Colca Canyon. At around 6:30 am, we were jolted awake by a loud crack and the bus rolling to a halt. The bus had hit one of the many potholes along this dirt road and broken something having to do with the axel. 
We, along with the 20 other tourists on the bus, loaded off and sat among the barren landscape of the altiplano for two hours while the guide and bus driver desperately looked for a solution. The bus driver tried to fix the bus while our guide flagged down every passenger bus that passed to see if they could take us. 

One bus did end up taking about ten people, but there wasn't enough room for their things, so they had to leave their backpacks with us. 

Meanwhile, the bus wasn't completely fixed so we tried going at 10 mph. 

It took us until 2 pm to arrive in Chivay--where we should have been at 8 am. 

We ate our group lunch, and were told it would be until 3 pm before the bus was fixed. Three turned into 4 pm and finally at 5 pm we were on the bus again. 

Driving two more hours farther into the canyon as it grew deeper and deeper, the bus got quiet. Everyone was absorbed by the incomparable views--small pueblos, Inca terraces, snow-covered volcanoes and the sheer canyon walls. 

But now we had to make a decision--hike down into the the second deepest canyon in the world at night or wake up early the next day and hike eight hours. 

The group decided for a night hike. And what luck we had--a full moon!
We descended five hours, hugging the steep canyon walls. Finally, the group arrived at our bungalows in the canyon's bottom at midnight. I'm not sure we really understood the hike we had made until we awoke the next morning. But that's for day two. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice, I was just there about 2 weeks ago. Chivay has some nice restaurants that actually surprised us. Make sure you try the Trucha while you are here, fresh water trout is very tasty. Also if you miss the condor's at 9 am, they will return in about 45 mins to an hour. They actually live in caves in the hills behind the big viewing mound, and not down in the Canyon as I thought. Enjoy.