Saturday 21 June 2008

Huaraz to Huanuco

Mt Huascaran, the highest peak in Peru. Photo taken from the top floor of Joe's Place, a great little guesthouse in Huaraz.

The tunnel at Kahuish pass 4480m between Catac and Chavin

Chavin ruins
On top of the main temple housing subterranean tunnels and galleries.

Underground tunnels

The famous 'Lanzon' stone dagger in one of the chambers

Early morning at my camp at Cayashpunta 4145m. 3 young Quechuans with mules taking a break on their journey.

Landscape between San Marcos and Antamina

Antamina mine- only 3 years of mining by another multi-national consortium (incl. BHP Billiton) and the destruction is evident. Alpine lakes and streams become tailing dams and the mountains are demolished to extract the minerals. The company has built a 100km sealed road to the mine. I followed a dirt road for 20kms encircling the mine workings - after the previous days riding from the valley floor up to the wild pampa this was a disheartening sight.

I was escorted through the mine area by security guards on horseback.

10 kms south of the Antamina mine took a narrow dirt road down to Huallanca. A real delight- smooth surface, no traffic and passing through tiny villages along the Rio Ututupampa - a beautiful hidden valley.

Huanuco Viejo, the ruins of the Incan city of Huanuco standing forlorn and empty on the Pampa. It was an important citadel of the empire, linking Cuzco with Cajamarca and the northern realms. I visited this site in 1985 when it was left alone to time and the elements but since then it has suffered the modern vanadalism of grafitti. Sad to see slogans painted on the walls of the ancient city. I cycled 12 kms from La Union to the site, on probably the worst road of the journey so far.

The bell tower of a church in Pataz

Maize cobs drying in Acobamba

El Rio Maranon - my third crossing of this mighty waterway. Now at 3000m and sparkling blue waters instead of the sluggish muddy river downstream at Bellavista (300m) and Balsas (800m). It's source is high in the Cordillera Huayhuash.

On my last day, lots of trucks filled with people heading to the football match and celebrations in Chavanillo.

The road from Chavanillo to Huanuco was rocky and dusty. I rode mostly on the verge of the deep rutted sections to avoid the boulders and fine dust. I took this photo shortly before my accident.

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