My journey on Instagram part six, from Huaraz to the end in Paracas, Peru.
A taste from three days in Lima with my parents. It doesn't have the best reputation amongst South American backpackers but I'm glad I got to see it with my parents. I don't feel like you've experienced a country without going to its biggest city. Pictures are from the historic centre, Miraflores, Barranco, the Larco Museum and the beaches.
Today started off incredible as I woke up in my little sleeping nook at the visitor centre of the Pastoruri entrance to Huascaran National Park. I biked under blue skies through a beautiful green and yellow valley to the Pastoruri Glacier at 4,850 metres, where I stopped for lunch. A light rain started by the time I left and didn't let up, eventually turning to snow. It was a frigid descent to Huallanca, where I just enjoyed a proper hot shower. Now it's time to rest up for the Huayhuash…
The Huayhuash lived up to its reputation as one of the world's greatest treks, bringing you up close to some of the biggest mountains in the world. The views are consistently spectacular and I even got to ride parts of it, though if I were to do it again, I'd do it on an a proper mountain bike, or just walk. Unfortunately on day three i broke two spokes and cracked my rear rim, making for a very wobbly bike. Fortunately, I ran into a trio of francais that day who had a donkey escort that carried my gear to the next campsite to ease the pressure on my wheel. They were also great company as we hung out at the world's most scenic hot springs. Now it's off to Lima to get a new wheel.
With a new wheel in place, I got back on the bike and rode from Cajatambo to Oyon today. I got hit by rain and snow as I crested the first off two passes and my supposedly waterproof gloves got soaked, making for a frigid descent. Fortunately it dried up as I started towards the second pass and the rest of the day was alright.
I was feeling pretty uninspired starting today. The previous three days saw me yo-yo up and down huge passes, with the bad weather consistently showing up as I got to the top. I can suffer through an 1,800 metre climb, but i like a reward at the top too. I expected the same today but Mother Nature was on my side. The climb was gentle and beautiful as I passed through multi-coloured mountains and alpine lakes, and when I reached the top, it didn't rain! The descent took me past a few big lakes (featuring flamingos!), through a mine and into Huallay, where I'm plotting out my next move.
I feel like I'm hitting the wall lately. I haven't been sleeping all that well and the past three days, though not all that hard in terms of distance or vertical gain, have been a struggle to get through. The views are still amazing, but I admit to contemplating a slightly early end to my trip. Right now I'm in Tarma, a small city popular amongst Peruvian tourists but off the Gringo trail. Hopefully some rest will get me going again for the last month of my trip. My goal is to get to Cusco, but right now I don't know if I'll make it.
It's impossible to overstate the beauty of the Rio Canete through Nor-Yauyos Reserve. It tumbles through a deep canyon through an endless series of waterfalls, lagoons and wetlands and the views are consistently amazing. It is one of the places I read of before this trip and the pictures I saw were incredible. Needless to say, it lived up to expectations.
Yesterday I rode all day and into the night to reach Paracas, the end of my journey. Despite a bit of a refresh during my break in Tarma, when I hit the road again, I knew I just didn't have that same zeal for cycling that I did before. My last route was spectacular but I was taking longer to get going every day and every hill was that much more of a struggle. As well, the road ahead wasn't urging me on like before and the excitement of what lay next just didn't seem as exciting. So I made my way down to the coast and pulled off my first 100 mile day to finish, because why not go out in style?