Friday, September 16, 2011

Laguna Pampacocha

The rainy season is fast approaching, which dawned on me when I woke up on Friday to see fresh snow on the higher peaks (we’ve also had rain fall almost every afternoon this last week). It lit a fire under me to get out and see some country while the weather was still good (despite that I have a nagging head cold). So I readied my pack, checked my topo map, and chose to walk up the hill to Laguna Pampacocha, the nearest sizable body of water (minus the Rio Santo behind my house).
The hike, was more of hike for hiking sake, than a method to get somewhere. I say this because: 1, there is a road all the way up (with taxis); and 2, I wasn’t really going anywhere to do something, I was just going on a hike to see “stuff”. With that said, it was a day well spent, and can be summarized by the following points.

I hiked the farm trails leading up from my house and gained 1,000 feet in about 4 hours (slowly walking, taking my time to talk to everyone (explaining that I'm not a lost gringo, but just a curious gringo). They don't see to many backpackers.
 I passed this simple little farm, and it struck me how basic this particular family lives, and I decided to take the following video:

 While hiking up to the lake, I met this lady while she was milking her cow. She didn't really want her picture taken (stating that she was dirty, and that I should return some other day), but I begged, and she relented. I took these pictures and this video:

Then when I was leaving, she asked me when she will get her pictures. I promised* "soon".  But as I was walking away I realized that I had little to no chance of remembering how to get back to her house... To remedy this, I took the following video to help me find her house again (in hindsight, I could have been a little more specific): 

And finally, I arrived to Laguna Pampacocha. It wasn't like any other lake I know at 9,000 feet (I was hoping for more of a high mountain lake look), but I relaxed anyways, and took this video before returning home:

Then to save time, and get home for lunch, I took a taxi (S/. 4). But as the taxi flew down a sttep hill without power steering, on hairpin curves, I seriously thought about getting out of the van and walking. However, when "Highway to the Danger Zone" began being played, I decided it was too perfect, and I needed to document this "pucker" inducing ride. As is typical with my experiences in South America, there is always music playing, and sometimes it more than appropriate (It seems like there is always a soundtrack to my life, and this time it was too perfect).
Here's a short video (that doesn't quite capture the feeling of my life flashing before my eyes with Maverick and Goose by my side):

*I will return to give this lady her pictures.