I spent most of Saturday and Sunday feeling sorry for myself and rcovering, I think the altitude makes hangovers considerably worse!
On the Monday - Day 10, we went down the the bus station in town and got our tickets to Pachapaqui, a small village in the area of one of the field sites for the Puya. The man there was excited that we were going to Pachapaqui, and already knew Jamie (whom he reffered to as Yuri) and was chatting away to me in his own little world for a while whilst I smiled politely and said "Si, si" a lot. The bus journey was another one of those seat gripping experiences, with the coach driver overtaking anyone doing 1 mph less than him, whether it was on a straight stretch of road or a blind corner clinging to the side of a cliff, but the scenery was nice. The coach was full and there were a couple of stops before ours, in tiny villages where vendors would board and sell bags of nuts. One of the places looked as though it was built purely around this function too. We were about 5 minutes away from our destination when the heavens opened, big time.
Pachapaqui is a village based around a mining company down the road, and is a pit stop for truckers on their way to the next region of Peru. Apart from that it really isn't much else, with the people living off the land or herding sheep in the mountains. It was just us two getting off at this stop, and people looked at us solemnly as we edged off, probably praying for us.
|Pachapaqui from our vantage point|
The views were breathtaking and I wished my family could see and hear what I could right at that moment.
As we climbed higher thunder rumbled in the distance over the glacier, and you could see lightning striking the peaks of the nearby mountains. It was EPIC and being the massive nerd I am, our journey was the spit of Sam and Frodo reaching Mount Doom.
After half an hour or so climb we found a spot to set up camp near a stream and a couple of valleys from the Puya we would be collecting data on and tagging. The tent was set up quite quickly and we got inside to assess the damage. EVERYTHING in my bag was soaked through, but luckily all the food was plastic wrapped, and my sleeping bag had avoided the worst of it. We got out the gas burner and cooked up some noodles to celebrate. It was late afternoon by this point, so it was worthless beginning work as the light was already fading. It was then that I realised we had literally nothing to do in the hours before going to sleep; the shit Peruvian phones don't even have snake. The time passed, slowly.
That night I managed to get in a couple of 20 minute bursts of sleep, and a dog down in the village barked without fail for 4 straight hours presumably before someone either closer to it, or with less patience killed it.
It's got to be one of the first times I have prayed for morning to arrive as soon as possible. I was down a few toes due to the cold, uncomfortable, damp, and that fucking dog!
|Looking as rough as I felt!|
As is typical in those sort of situations, the thunder started. Whilst shitting bricks, we got the tent down ASAP and flung all our gear on. Before long the band of rain moved off, and we decided we'd have to stay in the village for the night. On the way we finished the Puya, and tagged two more from Jamie's previous trip here. It was a long, long, loooooong trek to the village and after a couple of days of not eating much and trekking all day, I had absolutely nothing left at all, stomping slowly up the road to a building with "HOSPIDAJE" emblazoned on it.