Cañon del Pato and on to Huaraz

March 8, 2010

I was feeling a lot better. My stomach was still empty and hollow,  my guts wrenched, but I was feeling up to a long day of riding (hopefully).

Ricardo had told me about a “private” road off the Panamericana that would lead me into Cañon del Pato. I was really looking forward to it, but also a little daunted because he said the turnoff was about at X km and I had to stop, make nice-nice with the guard, and ask if I could pass.

It was all quite easy, so easy, in fact, that I didn’t snap pics of the turnoff.

Wow. Super hard packed dirt road!

Yummy scenery. I’m all alone and cruising fast.

Wow, this green valley comes as a surprise.

Corn?

Ah. The source of the green.

A few km of pavement

Tunnels! Lots of them–I think over 40 in all. Pretty fun until you get into the long ones and realize there are no lights, and that  the trucks over time have made deep ruts through the only lane of passage. so you get in there, in the dark, and while your eyes adjust to the lack of light, you slip-slide up & down between the ruts, whoop-te-doo, in the dark, hoping you don’t crack yourself into one of the stone walls. Or worse, crash in the dark and be picking up your bike, in the dark,  when a truck comes.

That’s coal, folks. Being dumped into the river UPstream from the farms we previously saw.

Another coal mine further upstream. No wonder the river looks angry and dirty.

By now it’s 962 degrees, and I stop here to wet myself down.

A 4×4 er with UK plates passes me.

I get to La Esperanza and stop for more Gatorade. I am terrific-ly dehydrated, it’s hotter than blazes, by golly I o NOT want to put all the gear back on. But I do.

ATTGAT. All The Gear All The Time.

I am hoping to make it to Huaraz today–that’s the next stop on Ricardo’s “plan”.

It pays to look ahead…

Back onto pavement and it’s  bit of a relief, even though there’s a bit of construction.

These are the first flagger-women I have seen in indegenous dress.

I am headed to the Huaraz and have been promised my first glimpse of the Cordillera Blanca. It’s been a  long hot day. But at least I am climbing in altitude and it’s getting cooler. I haven’t been 100% today.

There they are! Snow!!!

Note to self: No more beef.

I get to Huaraz, find a decent hotel, shoehorn the bike in the lobby, and rest. I end up spending two nights here because it’s comfy and clean, and I am just drained. Huaraz is the trekking mecca of Peru, and it’s full of gringos. You can find everything you are looking for here, including the first Wifi I’ve found in a hotel since entering Peru. I’d gotten spoiled in all the other countries–the majority of the hotels had it.

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