Last year I was in Peru, where I did the most beautiful hike in my life
Namely the Santa Cruz Trek, which is 51 km long and takes 4 days.
I arrived in Huaraz on Wednesday evening and immediately met Evelyne and Leonie in my hostel. They booked the Santa Cruz Trek for Friday as well as another German because they arrived one day before me.
Since I arrived from sea level at 3000 meters, and the trek goes up to 4700m, I was not sure if one day acclimatization would be enough.
So the next day I went to the office of the company and they said, since I was already up to 4000m, it should not be a problem. So I also signed up for Friday, but with some reservations.
Evelyne and I spent Thursday getting equipment such as gloves and caps and, most importantly, snacks.
Friday morning started early, at 6am we were picked up at the hostel. Our trekking group consisted of a Lucerne couple, three Germans, a Canadian and me.
First we drove a good 3h until we stopped for breakfast and then we had to drive another good hour to the starting point of the trek.
Start altitude was about 3'700m. They said that on the first day it was only about 3 hours and the way was easy and only 100 meters altitude to gain.
First it went down a lot and then up again and definitely more than 100 meters of altitude.
My body made it clear to me that it was not yet acclimatized. It was extremely hard for me and I could only have cried half the way. Never before have I had such problems with walking as on this day. I was just happy when we reached our camp for the first night after 4 hours.
I felt extremely bad that night. I could hardly eat, was sick and had a headache. I had no idea how to manage day 2, which would be the hardest.
At 5.50 am we had to get up. Even when I didn't sleep I felt much better than the day before. After a breakfast of scrambled eggs and bread rolls incl. coca tea we started.
Today we had to cross the pass Punta Union 4750m high. We had a good 900 meters of altitude in front of us. The beginning went quite well. It went steadily up, but not extremely steep. With my speed and short breathers I managed the first short part.
When we were at about 4200m it went steeper and steeper, the air became thinner and thinner and I could breathe very badly. No idea how I should make it up there. With a lot of effort, time and breaks we reached the pass after about 5h.
I could have just cried again. I would never have thought that breathing at this altitude was so much more exhausting. Up there is a wonderful view. Unfortunately I could not enjoy it as much as I had hoped because I was so done with myself.
After a Quinoa lunch we went down for about 2h to our camp for the second night, which was about 4'200m with a great view.
By the way, our "toilet" also had a great view.
Our evenings were like this: washing in the cold river, setting up tents, then we had tea and snacks, then resting a bit in the tent because it was cold outside, dinner at 6:30 pm and after a delicious tea sleeping at about 8 pm. The sky was always beautiful, never before in my life have I seen so many stars.
Also this night I could sleep unfortunately badly. It became relatively cold at night. Every morning there was ground frost. We were allowed to sleep today until 6:30am. After pancakes and brushing teeth in the river, we started at 8am.
Our way led us first again on 4'420m to the beautiful lagoon Arhuaycocha. The efforts were definitely worth it.
Afterwards it went almost only down and across desert and beautiful mountain landscape. After 7h we reached our camp at about 3'700m. For me this was the absolutely most beautiful camp you can have. I was so happy that I had the worst behind me, because the last day should be relaxed.
Like the last two nights, I slept very little, the ground was just too hard and the night too cold. At 7.45 am we started walking. Our guide Ronald said, about 3h to the finish. We had to walk down about 800 meters. After less than 2h we were already there. I think everyone just wanted to arrive.
After a cold beer we drove back to Huaraz for a good 2h and in the evening there was a reunion with Pisco Sour.
Conclusion: After the first day I would not have thought that I would survive the 4 days. Unfortunately I couldn't enjoy the whole trek as much as I thought I should. The altitude was just too much for me. I am convinced that if I had had more time to acclimatize, it would have been a lot easier. But it was a great adventure and when I now look at the photos I have to say that the views with the white mountains in the Cordillera blanca are simply incredibly beautiful and exactly what I love so much. My heart is full! I find no words to describe my feelings. Even if it was hard, I am proud that I have done this.
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