if you ever can visit the mountain place Huaraz on 4200 metres in the Andes..phantastic mountain landscapes which you even better see on trips to the Yungay valley, the Lake Llagunuco and above all over the 5200 meters high pass to the ruins of Chavin..
take care of the altitude..eating some natural plants for help to breath is not bad..
Natural Heritage of Peru
Established in 1975, the Parque Nacional Huascarán contains all the Cordillera Blanca (with the exception of the distant Nevado Champará in its extreme north), the highest range of the Peruvian Andes and the highest range in the world's tropical zone. Its total area is approximately 1300 square miles (340,000 hectares), roughly 110 miles (180 km) north-south, and an average of only 12 miles (20 kin) east-west. Within its boundaries are thirty mountains above 6000 meters (19686 ft) above sea level (fifteen are above 20,000 feet, 6096 meters), crowned by Nevado Huascarán itself at 22205 feet (6768 m). ("Nevado" means snow-covered peak.) There are another thirty peaks above 18500 feet (5640 in), as well as hundreds of glacial lakes, rivers, and waterfalls, and an abundance of flora and fauna.
St Sebastian Church is a modern church near the construction of the new cathedral in the Main plaza. Plaza de Armas.
the Chorus has a fun beat to old church songs and it makes it very fun an festive to hear the mass.
the Bells in front of the church reminded me of the Liberty bells in Philadelphia
Though the city is nice enough, it is the Cordillera Blanca that draws most travelers. The National Park is a Mecca for backpackers and full of amazing plant life as well as the spectacular moutains that leave most with mouth agape.
Though much of Huaraz was destroyed during the many earthquakes that ravaged the city, there are some interesting old parts of town to wander around. The mountains are always looming in the background too. :)
One of my last things I did near Huaraz was taking a tour to the Archeological ruins of Chavin de Huantar. On the way there, we stopped at the beautiful lake of Querococha, which lies at an altitude of 4000 meters. A few hours later we passed through the Cauisin tunnel at 4550 meters above sea level. The ruins of Chavin de Huantar are amazing. According to the guide, the society of Chavin de Huantar was obsessed with the number 7. The main plaza measures 49 meters by 49 meters (perfect square of 7). Apparently, they got to measure the size of the Earth and from there calculated a measuring unit identical to the meter. I noticed that the plaza and the main temple are perfectly aligned to the north and south on each side. There are several interesting galleries and labyrinths on site as well. Check out my Chavin de Huantar page for more tips and pics.
This is a lovely 8-15 day trek near Huaraz. I'm sure other kind folks at VT will soon have a good page describing this trek. I heard it's supposed to be one of the best in the world. Since I was low on time, only had 2 months in Peru , I left it for my next trip to Peru. When? I don't know :).
On the way to the base camp of Pisco, I had a chance to take this lovely shot of Huascaran, Peru's highest mountain. The area around this peak is protected under the Parque Nacional Huascarán. In 2001, the price of admission for treking was $20 USD for a week. You can sneak in at times and avoid this by paying as a day pass holder. However, there is at least one check points on route in the Santa Cruz Trek.
Our next challenge took us to the non-technical snowy Peak known as Pisco. We went to a climbing shop and got all of the equipment needed. I am telling you, anyone looks like Chris O’Donnell in Vertical Limit with his or her equipment on. As I found out, most of that movie was faked... it looked so easy on the movie, but in real life walking on high altitude takes time, energy, and mental health/concentration. Just breathing in requires you to do so from the mouth (and the nose) at a mentally practiced rate. By the last treks on high altitudes in this trek I had it almost perfected. Oh, forget talking unless you need to, if you do then you will lose track and tire easily. Anyway, Pisco is located a bit before Vaquerias, the start of the Santa Cruz trek so we took the same transport and told them to drop us near Cebollapampa, the start of the walk to base camp. We walked about 3 hours to base camp at 4600 meters above sea level. That afternoon, snow fell in our camp. It wasn’t enough to cover the valley, but it was enough for us to freeze. Consequently, I hardly slept that night. We woke up around 2:30 AM and headed out around 3:30 AM. We climbed the first ridged to about 5000 meters above sea level. Unfortunately, I came up with a minor case of diarrhea. To make things worse, we took the wrong path for a while and ended up lost in the ridge. Eventually we find the right path, but it was too late to attempt a full climb that day. Despite on the setbacks, we got to wear the equipment for a while and we saw a beautiful sunrise. Although we didn't reach the peak, I am happy I made this little adventure. It showed me that ice climbing is not an easy thing and even those who don't make it to the top are rewarded with beautiful views or the thrill of being so high. Who knows, perhaps I will try it again someday with better equipment and a guide :).
We took the advice of two Aussies and decided to camp near the climber's basecamp at Quebrada Arhuaycocha. The climb down the valley was easy, but the climb up to the campsite was as demanding as the overpass we had made that same day. Once on top, the view from the small valley of several snowy peaks in front and behind turned out to be wonderful. Well worth the detour! We camped at a base camp for climbers at 4100 meters above sea level. We of course had no equipment to approach the peaks, but we did take a day trip up a few hundred meters to see the huge glacier. I had never seen a glacier so up close in my life and I can tell you it looked huge! We managed to make a fire tonight, but the lack of oxygen in the air at this height proved to be a real challenge maker for us. It rained that night on us so our stuff was wet in the morning; some ice was even stuck on the tent :).
The fourth day we walked from the Quebrada Arhuaycocha to the end of the trail. We descended from an altitude of 4100 meters to one of 2900 meters in a single day by foot. It was a cloudy day at first, but we managed to avoid the rains since it was left behind us. We walked about 7 hours that day through a rocky path to the town of Cashapampa. My feet were killing me! At the end, we took a series of collectivos back to Huaraz. As in any trek, we toasted the night off with a good big meal :).
The third day we took the challenge of crossing the highest overpass of the trek. It took us about 1 and 1/2 hour to reach the top at 4700 meters above sea level. At the top, the view of both valleys was breathtaking. There were even more snowy peaks then at the camp since we got to see both sides.
The second day turned out to be cloudy at first so we walked only 2 or 3 hours and decided to camp out for the night to let the weather pass. The South Africans and the British gal were in a rush so they parted away past the big overpass. We camped next to a lagoon just before the big overpass of the trek. Luck was in our favor, and by early afternoon that same day, the clouds were gone so we got to see an amazing view of the snowy mountains, which are the best I have ever seen, even to this date. The Aussie told me that these peaks make those in Canada and the Rocky Mountains look like little hills. The sizes of these peaks are amazing. We took a daytrip that afternoon to the top of a peak and got an even better view of the snowy peaks. We camped at about 4200 meters above sea level that night. Being so high, we couldn't find firewood to make a fire. That didn’t stopped us from appreciating a bright full moon sparkling on the lagoon and illuminating the towering snowy peaks.
One of the best treks I have ever done in my life is the Santa Cruz Trek that is near Huaraz on the Parque Nacional Huascarán. The trek can be made in three days if rushed, but we did it in four by taking our time. I made this trek with the South Africans I had met earlier, the British gal from Chachapoyas, and one of the crazy Aussies from Chachapoyas. We lost touch during the first day since half of us ended up spending the night in the town of Yungay, which lies a few hours away from the start of the trail. The other half, I was told, spend the night near Vaquerias, the start of the trek. The next day we took a collectivo (small bus) to Vaquerias and manage to squeeze into the park paying the economical day fee rather then the $20 USD normally charged. The trick was putting our bags in potato sacks; the guards think they were produce from locals, so all we told them is we were going in for the day :). We walked 4-5 hours that day to reach the first campsite (not the first in the circuit, but our first). The campsite was at 3750 meters above sea level. Once there, we met up with our friends, who were already waiting for us. The view at this camp was amazing, but as I will later know, each day the view will get even better :). There were even snowy mountains in the background all around. The fire that night helped to keep us warm.
take an excursion from Huaraz to the icecaves, on the way, lots of stops with beautiful views. You'll get to about 5.000 metres.
This is a classic South American cemetery with rows of squeaky clean white tombs and for the less afluent, a block house of graves in a long enclosure. There are great views of the mountains as well.