Tripstagram part 5: Chachapoyas to Huaraz


My journey on Instagram, part 4, from Chachapoyas to Huaraz in Peru.

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Merry Christmas from Chachapoyas, Peru!

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Some days you crush it, others you get crushed. After a big day on Thursday, I had very little left to give on Friday. I slept poorly, then took my time getting going, with the mild aim of tackling some of the 110 kilometres to Cajamarca that afternoon. Twenty kilometres in, it started to pour relentlessly. My legs were still spinning, but mentally I was already struggling and the rain made it worse. I eventually found shelter outside a rural school, and when the rain didn't stop, I changed out of my bike clothes, laid out my sleeping pad, cooked dinner and went to bed. The next morning I woke up to a beautiful sunrise and the rest of the ride to Cajamarca flew by. Though I'm still exhausted and looking forward to sleeping forever tonight.

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The views were amazing this morning when I woke up at a cellphone tower station at an elevation of 4,100 metres. The workers there fed me dinner and gave me a mattress to sleep on, but despite that, I was unable to fall asleep until after 3 am. Today I battled fatigue but somehow got a second wind and made it to Cajabamba after 90 kilometres mostly downhill, but with enough climbing to keep me honest. It was an odd day as I rode through an area where they were untrusting of foreigners and two cycle tourists were detained for a day by local villagers a few years ago. Thankfully I didn't experience that, but I also received lots of scowls and watched children flee as I nervously rode through that stretch as fast as possible.

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What do bike tourers do on their rest days? They go biking! I arrived in Caraz a few days ago ready for a break. Coincidentally, @iohangue, who's a bit of a legend in the dirt road touring world due to his amazing video series documenting his adventures (see bikewanderer.com), was also here so we met up to go for a ride. Joining us was Sylvain, who was fresh off the plane from Quebec. What better way to acclimatize than a 30 kilometre ride up to 4,200 metres? When we reached Laguna Paron it was later than expected, cold and rainy, amd the mountains were shrouded in clouds so we opted to spend the night in the refugio. This morning we were treated to incredible views of the glacier-capped peaks surrounding the lake. We soaked them in before making the long descent back to town. Tomorrow we're heading off on a circuit through the Cordillera Blanca – the highest mountain range on earth outside the Himalayas.

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