About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. Cheers, Adam and Cindi

"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844

Friday, November 9, 2012

Colca Canyon....a grand canyon of another name!

We've just finished a great few days exploring the Colca Canyon in southern Peru.  More than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the U.S. (4,160 m / 13,650 ft depth) the canyon is said to be the world's deepest canyon, though the walls are not as steep as those of the Grand Canyon.  Whatever the statistics, it's a helluva deep valley, and offers great hiking on old Inca transit trails, passing through villages and farms hundreds of years old at the canyon bottom.

After a few days in Arequipa, we saddled up another bus and headed about 5 hours to our point for starting down into the canyon, near the rim top village of Cabanaconde.  The bus ride was great, as we rode across the Peruvian high Altiplano, passing farms and villages and llamas....lots and lots of llamas.  The road crossed a pass at 4800 m / 15750 ft.  This is some seriously inhospitable landscape.

Sign reads¨"Bar Restaurant Touristico"  Too bad it was closed...

heading home

Bus was standing room only!!

Making way for uphill traffic
 Eventually we arrived at our drop off point, and drop off we did.  The trail was relentlessly steep, and we kept descending for about three hours, finally reaching the little village (just a few Quechua houses, really) of San Miguel, about 2200 m / 7200 ft down.  (yes, the knees took a pounding, even hiking with "sticks")  We were looking for the Casa de Roy, and were met at the river bridge by Roy's wife and beautiful daughter Marcella carried in a shawl on mom's back.  Together we scrambled up the steep side trail to their house. 

It was interesting during the hike down we met two young guys hiking up who said they were Roy's sons.  Roy's wife told us later that the boys (ages 21 and 9) were heading back up the canyon to catch the night bus to Arequipa to get to school in time for an exam the next morning (Monday).  These kids make the trip every week !!!  Mom was really proud of them, can't blame her...

We spent a terrific night with Roy and his family before hitting the trail early the next morning.

With miles to cover and over 2000 m/ 6560 ft of elevation to be gained, we cruised quickly along the valley floor, passing several small villages and farms, all working the terraces built many years ago by the Incas and pre Inca people.

You never know where you'll see a television satellite dish!!!

Flowers were beautiful at the Oasis
Finally we crossed a bridge and were in the "Oasis", a pretty spot with a few rustic hostels with SWIMMING POOLS!!  Perfect lunch spot, we lounged around for a couple of hours, contemplating the long slog back up to the canyon rim.

Trail down from plateau on right to Oasis, before starting UP to left

And a near vertical slog it was, as we took an exhausting 3 hours to reach the town of Cabanaconde above, where we spent the night.  The only bummer of this unexpectedly fun hike came when we woke up.  There's a well known Andean condor viewpoint nearby, on the road back toward Arequipa.  You're supposed to take the early bus out of town to the viewpoint, spend a couple of hours watching them fly as the sun comes up, then hop the 9am bus on to Chivay, around 2 hours further (before transferring buses).  Well, our hostel owner told us the bus leaves at 6:30, his wife said 6:40.  We woke up early and were at the bus stop by 6:20, only to find that the bus leaves at 6:15!!!   &%$#!)? turned out to be a well understood phrase, in Quechua, Spanish, as well as English.  Ah well, at least we did see a couple of condors flying above us as we hiked up the HOT trail out of the canyon  (though we thought they might just be circling the fading gringos in anticipation of a tasty hot meal.....)

Next up...on to Bolivia for more adventures.....

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