Perú: Caraz to Huaraz via the unbeaten track
When I had visions of what this journey could be like, steep dirt roads surrounded by snow-capped mountains featured strongly. From Caraz we could have stuck to the well-surfaced valley road – only 60+km and an easy days riding.
After a day crawling up the valley side from Yungay, we setup camp illicitly in the shelter of the visitor area of the 1st Lago Llanganuco
After we are in the dark, there is still light catching Huscarán above us
Soon we leave the Lagunas Llanganuco behind and begin to climb again
Sarah in for the longhaul
The higher we get, the more like a postcard the view becomes. Azure lakes and gleaming snow and ice
then looking back, the turns of our trail and what we have done sink home
The next day, after a night in Yanama, we skirt round the massif towards Chacas and a choice of line
The crest of a rise allows Joe and I to chat. Sarah discovers me asking him about American politics and other mysteries of the world... (Photo S.Hedges)
We are travelling in the 'off-season'. Afternoon rain after morning sunshine is our pattern - ideally we try to make the most of early starts
3 variously loaded bike parked in Chacas town centre, with one of us to fend off questions while the others seek somewhere to stay and food (Photo S.Hedges)
The road to Juitush is gloriously traffic-free - a contrast to the road-works traffic on the Punta Olimpica road to Carhuaz.
A bridge a bit further up the valley is a bit too rickety for riding
The riding doesn't last long, and hauling our loaded bikes up increasingly steep slopes uses more than all our energy. Then it begins to rain
Rain turned to snow. With the prospect of more and no sign of the pass, we camp. Joe's tarptent gets well weighted down
The next morning is bright as hoped for, but getting out of a nice warm bed is less than attractive
especially when every foot of progress is hard-won. Sunshine helps though
As we finally crest the pass into the Quebrada Honda, we are shadowed by great wings. Maybe Condors - we don't get a close enough look
Descending into the Quebrada isn't as straightforward as we'd hoped. The clouds begin to gather
In the dry, rocky valley floor, the scale of the descent we've made stretches the eye.