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It was amazing to look these over a week later. What a place that was!

Several Ausangate pics. )


Sep. 11th, 2006 04:26 am
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I'm falling into bed in about two seconds. But here's one of my favorite pics--a hair shot, of course.

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And so we leave the mountains with all the memories of the beautiful vistas, hotsprings, chinchillas, alpacas, cactus and trailfuckers.

Day 6: A birdie for goodbye )

I am now in the Lima airport and can´t wait to come back to South America. As I have not yet left it, this says a lot.
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Okay, chinchillas are yesterday´s news. What do our heroines do when they run out of air and are seriously asked by their young punk of a guide why they´re so slow? Well, they don´t cook him up like a cuy; they merely threaten to fit him with lead weights and an anti-oxygen mask.

Day 4: Diane, have you seen my lungs? )
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And what do our hapless heroines do when it starts to snow? And really, do chinchillas even exist?

Day 3: Altitude and attitude poisoning )
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And the adventure continues! Do they see chinchillas? Do they find an arriero? What is UP with those three people, anyway?

Day 2: You forgot the WHAT? )
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...before my brain turns off due to too much oxygen. Oh my godz, I can breathe again. I´m killing time in the Lima airport and can breathe.

So, what did I do on my Peruvian holiday after limpingly conquering the Inca Trail?

Day 1: Not stinky in Tinqui! )
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The bulk of this post is going to have to wait until I´m not shivering in a little open-air internet cafe in a tiny village close to Tinqui. Suffice to say that Ausengate was absolutely gorgeous and probably the hardest hike I´ve ever done. It didn´t help that we had an 18 year old guide with Peruvian lungs and no comprehension about sea-level senoritas. At the top of the KILLER third day pass (a mere 17,000 feet), he sat at the top with his faithful mountain pony, Paloma, wondering why we were so slow.

Two 15,000 (or more) passes the previous day.

Two nights at hot springs. SCORE!

Five days avoiding the only other group on the trail (barring a couple of Canadians we glimpsed twice but never were close enough to speak to). My memories of Ausengate will be forever entwined with three people who are the biggest entitlement whores in history.

You have no idea.

I called them the "Trailfuckers" and offended them every day by my very presence and by wishing them a cheerful good morning whenever they passed by. This whole trip is gonna take some writing, from incredible vistas, to nonstop panting to get air, to naked hotspringing with people who hate me for the language I speak. Not kidding. We got a lot of mileage out of those bozos and luckily didn´t see them often.

Back to Cusco on the 8:00 bus. We won´t pull into town for a while, so I probably won´t update until I hit the Lima airport.

Camino Inka

Sep. 3rd, 2006 10:55 am
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I have a little time, so I might as well start writing down some of my memories of the Inca Trail. It was a whole lifetime packed into four days, so it´s hard to know where to begin. Except at the beginning, of course. I´ll write a bit and then add on later.

A pretty barebones account of the trek. )
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They don´t necessarily run on time. [ profile] dianyla and I sturdily got up early, packed our big frame backpacks, stored all our nonessentials in our small backpacks, paid for another night at the Hostela Rojas in advance for a few days from now, had them store our extra gear, picked up our laundry, had breakfast and took a cab to the weird part of town that is theoretically where the bus to Tinqui was supposed to pull up at 10:00.

We congratulated each other on getting our shit together in good time for the long bus ride, and stood out in the sun for the bus to arrive. About then, another really nice Peruvian guy came up and explained at length that the bus wasn´t going to arrive at ten. It might arrive at 12, 1, or 3. It might be full when it arrives. It would not arrive at 10, regardless.

Damn. We asked for directions toward the nearest internet cafe and are now ensconced in it. Nice Peruvian guy said some stuff that I didn´t quite catch before he left and Diane said, "I think we have a date. He´s going to go home to shower and then walk us back to the bus to buy our tickets, and then go to lunch with us. The bus won´t leave for a couple of hours after it gets here." Oy.

We´ll get to Tinqui sooner or later. The nice cab driver said that the roads have been improved, so hopefully it won´t be as long and scary as we first thought.
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Finished up the Inca Trail today and went through Maccu Picchu. I´ll write about it later, because the internet cafe is closing in a few minutes and I´m pretty dead tired. Diane and I dropped off our laundry to be done overnight and are catching an early bus to the Ausengate area of Peru, to hike in supreme isolation in an area that will be a complete, high elevation paradise. Or so we´re told. The other gringos we´ve met have never heard of it, so that´s promising.

The bus ride is supposed to be nasty. Um. Pray for us, or something.

Wish I´d retained my Spanish. I understand a lot but can´t speak well, and that sucks when you have a transitory crush on a beautiful and funny Quechua man. Oh, well. Heh. Life still doesn´t suck, but I´m inspired by Diane´s easy fluency to start working on it hard again.

By the way, all the Quechuas are beautiful. It isn´t fair, but it sure is pretty.
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I just asked the Internet Cafe guy how to get the @ symbol on this odd keyboard. He said, "Oh, you click alt and then six and then four on the numberpad." That's so intuitive.

Anyway, [ profile] dianyla felt better upon arising today (and even better, upon awaking, she assured me that she remembered to bring HER electrical outlet adaptor, so I could recharge my camera), and so we headed out for the day. First stop, our trekking guides. Absolute sweethearts. A few other people from our group stopped in at the same time, so they insisted on giving us our hand-holding orientation. Dianyla and I kept getting shushed for talking in class, but hell, one of our group kept asking asinine things like, "So, it's only going to rain the second and third day, right?" and "So, we're not going to get to Macchu Piccu for sunrise?" in a whiny tone. Ok, what part of "Macchu Pichu is in a mountain valley" does he not understand? Poor Victor (our lovely and patient Quechua guide.) He didn't actually come out and moan about stupid gringos, but he did shush Diane and I when we started getting bored and planning our own plans in between teh stoopid.

We then stopped by the South American Hiking Club headquarters and discussed our next trek, done NOT in a group, thankyouverymuch. Diane had wanted to head to a set of mountains just beyond Maccu Picchu, but the charming Belgian who runs the place introduced another far more isolated shangri-la about seven hours from Cusco in the other direction. Oh My Gods, it looks like heaven. Or hikerporn, as D. keeps saying. We're going to probably hire a taxi to take us up there (not many options, there), find a guide hanging around a nearby village (don't wanna get lost) and be out for 4-5 days. Taxi back to Cusco just in time for our flight back to Lima. Well, hopefully, about a day early.

THEN, I talked D. into a training hike. We went up endless flights of stairs until they ended, and bushwhacked on local trails up to the huge screaming Jesus statue that overlooks the town. It started raining halfway up and we were treated to evening light over the entire town, with a rainbow. Great pic!

Back down via the old sexy woman trail, a hot shower, then off for food. We found a French restaurant and ordered the Peruvian special. Don't read this, Francie, but D. ate guinea pig. It's called cuy here and still has the little paw on. Since D. didn't bring her camera, she hacked off the paw and it's currently in her pocket. She's going to photograph it and then toss it out on the street for a stray dog to dispose of. I had trout.

Anyway, tired now. Off to bed soon. We're getting up early to go horseback riding through the ruins. The next day, our trek to Macchu Piccu begins!

Oh, yes...not many cats here. After some serious looking, I finally saw a little gatito at an open market. A nearby man said most of the cats live on the roofs.

Hiking log

Aug. 14th, 2006 04:26 am
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Denny Creek to Lake Melakwa (spelling possibly mangled, but I'm too tired to check). Nine miles. On five hours of sleep. *groan* I'm still having some cardio issues, but if I hike slow on the uphill stretches, I'm doing better.

I'll actually update later. Tonight will be an early night to bed.
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As my town was taken over this weekend by martians and morons for the hideous Kla-Ha-Ya Days festival and I knew I'd be waging battle for access to my house in between the fair-style booths, the block party, the parade, the race, the sports car exhibition and the overall nutsiness, I decided to leave early and come back late both days. Hiking, of course. Reminder: next year, just pack up the cats and leave altogether.

Tourist town rant )

Mount Sourdough - Saturday )

Mount Dickerman - Sunday )


Jul. 17th, 2006 11:03 pm
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I forgot to file my flight plan this morning! Shows how much help that would have been. Oh, well...

Hiking Log: Rachel Lake and Rampart Lakes

Even though I wanted to cancel Francie 'cause I was so exhausted this morning still, she sent me such a cheery text message that I caved. Did 11 miles roundtrip with Francie and Greg to Rachel Lake and onward to the Rampart Lakes. We had these latter ones to ourselves and therefore took full advantage by skinny dip swimming in the clear blue glacial water. It was wonderful.

I'm tired but not as exhausted as yesterday. The hike was pretty brutal, but most of the ones going up to the peaks are. I wish I could do this again tomorrow... I think by day four, I'd really start seeing an improvement in my body.

One thing is clear: I'm not in as good of cardio shape as I thought. That's the problem with hiking alone--no good reference point compared to other people. Francie is in elite cardio shape. Next to her, I was having all sorts of breathing issues. I'm rethinking my final "get the heck in shape" plan for Peru to be almost total cardio conditioning. I'm strong enough and have endurance (i.e., was nowhere near as tired as F & G after the hike), but the breathing is definitely an issue. I had to pace myself much slower and stop much more frequently to catch my breath. I think Francie could have mountain-goated up the trail at a prance and not been winded. I'm in awe.

8 miles yesterday in 7 hours; 11 miles today in 8 hours (including at least an hour at the top for both). Hopefully, next weekend will be as good.

Hiking log and photos later. I should head to bed soon.

ETA: This'll do for the log...

Orca rock!

May. 31st, 2006 05:09 am
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I saw this boulder and thought it was an orca rock immediately due to the spot on it. And then I saw the entire whale!

Can you see the whale? )
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Mileage: approx 30 kilometers

Back from my foray to the inpenetrable forests and impassable headlands of western Vancouver Island! Did you know that the West Coast Trail was originally called the Mariner Trail? And the coastline, the "Graveyard of the Pacific"? If you put these two things together, you know why the trail exists.

There are at least 28 shipwrecks from the mid-1800s. People in the isolated town of Port Renfrew and the really isolated town of Bamfield kept talking about doing something about it, but it took the loss of the iron steamer "Valencia" in 1906 to bring about some action. The ship was filled with mainly women and children, coming up from San Francisco to Victoria. The ship missed its turn and ended up on the rocks at what is now called Valencia Bluffs. It foundered for three days, but the forests were too thick to get through and ocean rescue was impossible. On the third day it sank, leaving only 33 survivors out of 160 passengers. And then, construction was finally started on the Mariner Trail. It was a trail to get to, rescue, and bring back to safety shipwreck survivors.

A less-than-brief monologue about my hike )

On the ferry back, two things happened )

ETA two pics )


May. 25th, 2006 04:25 am
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Stopped by REI after work. I was thinking of getting a new backpacking tent to replace my ancient one, but wasn't in the mood to part with $150. I bought some waterproofing spray instead and really should have waterproofed it tonight, along with my raingear. It was a majorly heavy lab day again today, though, and I just didn't feel like hauling all the stuff out, setting it up and hosing it down. Maybe tomorrow morning, but leaving it out to dry while I'm at work is just asking for it to be stolen.

Anyway, I bought some new summerbaskets for my hiking/snowshoeing poles. I normally don't hike with 'em, but I think I bring them along anyway. I need to clean house and throw all my gear together, but I'm too tired tonight. I'll likely get up early in the morning, since I don't have to rush in to the lab for once, and pack then. I still need to go shopping for hiking food.

A very general plan )


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Jen Kleis

November 2014



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