Today we began our Santa Cruz Trek in Huaraz. After hiring all the equipment, we were ready to go, with some pretty heavy bags on our back! We had a nice early start of 5am 😦 to catch the bus to the starting point of the trail Vaqueria. This involved arguably one of the worst journeys of my life – cramped in the back of a minivan in the boiling heat, winding through mountain roads… But we made it!
We had been told the first day involved around 4-5 hours walking to the first campsite Paria, so we set off on our way. We had been warned that usually around 2pm the weather starts to turn, so we wanted to be in the campsite by then.
The first 2 days of our trail were uphill, but today actually turned out to be relatively flat for most of it, which was a nice introduction. As you can see we were right down on the flat surrounded by the mountains.
As you can see, we really were surrounded by amazing scenery.
When we made it to the campsite, as it was such a nice day, we thought it would be best to keep walking. There was another campsite about 3km further on, and this way we could potentially do the trail over 3 days instead of 4.
After getting a tiny bit lost we made it to our second campsite.
Today was our toughest day, as it involved climbing to the peak, Punta Union, which was around 4700m. We all decided to take it slow, so we steadily began making our way up. From pretty early on we could see where we were trying to get to… it was just taking a long time!
The last part before the peak was so tough. You could really feel the lack of oxygen, and every small step felt like the biggest effort. But…. we made it!
We reached the campsite we were supposed to be staying at around 1ish, and decided to try and see how far we could get in the afternoon. The weather wasn’t looking as great today so we were a bit against time.
The next bit we absolutely marched down and actually made it to within an hour of the next camp before the weather started to turn.
We quickly set up camp and sheltered from the rain, which actually only lasted about an hour.
Campsite number 2 (photos courtesy of Annabel)
Today was our final day, and by now a lot of me was definitely starting to ache! But once again it was nice and downhill for the whole way, so a relatively easier finish to our trek.
We also bumped into Jo who we had met in Ecuador (small world!) on our way down.
Once again we were lucky with the weather and it held for our final hike. We ended up finishing around midday, so definitely able to do within 3 days – where we enjoyed a well deserved ice cream before heading back to Huaraz.