Jueves, 4 September 2014
|It may be a bit redundant, but here is my bike and Misti in back again.|
Last night I received a call from Quechua Tours about guiding a group down Chachani on bikes. I said “Si” and asked no questions other than what time are you picking me and my bike up Thursday AM? So, 8:30 AM I was ready; we loaded my bike on the rack and headed up by 9 AM. It was a Dutch couple, just married and on their honeymoon to Arequipa and to other places in Peru. Ana was from my hometown in the Netherlands, Den Haag, and Pieter was from Delft. I was able to practice my Dutch again. This day was super and would continue to be so. The weather was cool and sunny, and it got colder as we ascended to 15,787 feet (4755m), slightly higher than the last time I was up here. On our way up, Misti, just under 20,000 feet, was on our right and Chachani on our left. Chachani is just over 20,000 feet, but the only road goes up to the towers at 16,000 feet.
|The Dutch couple on their Honeymoon and I was part of it on Sept 4, 2014.|
It took 2 hours to reach this point since this vehicle was not as fast as the previous one (90 minutes). We dressed up, put on our knee and elbow pads, drank some water, took pictures of us at near 16,000 with Misti behind us, and it was all downhill from there. As before, on previous trips, it is a jarring ride. The exceptions were when we took the loose volcanic dust shortcuts. There was no one out here this time—no other bikers—or vehicles carrying trekkers up to Chachani or Misti. We were alone in the vastness of this terrain. We saw numerous tracks belonging to llamas, alpacas, and vicunas, but we saw none. The numerous bird tracks were of grouse (I heard later the Peruvian word, but I did not write it down). These we did see. I saw other animal scats, but I did not bother this time to cut them apart to determine the animal.
|4755 meters = 15,787 feet|
|The Dutch couple here and below enjoying the ride.|
Finally, we hit pavement once again (2 hours later) and then had another exhilarating but now fast ride down to 10,000 feet where we loaded the bikes and descended down to 8000 feet in Arequipa. It was only a 35K downhill ride, but remember the jarring and the likelihood of falling in the loose volcanic sand or slipping off a rock onto the road. But, that’s what the pads and helmet are for, correct?
Paz, Neal Bierling