The taxi arrived at 6.30am. Annoyingly we'd had to pack up all of our stuff to take with us, including all the bits that we wouldn't need in the field. With our rucksacks slung in the back of the pickup we were ferried to the bus station where we paid the $1.50 for our tickets to the park. The bus wasn't bad and for an hours drive was damn cheap. The change in temperature was instantly noticeable when we were deposited outside the "Toreadora" section of the park. Nearby was the small refuge, recognisable from the pencil drawing on Paul's ´85 paper, though thankfully with a proper roof as oppose to the thatched one from back in the day.
Inside was a compact but functional kitchen and table, 3 rooms with bunk beds, and upstairs was a loo (minus the seat) and the gaurds quaters. It was by no means warm inside the refuge and you certainly felt it on your cheeks on the toilet, but was at least out of the wind.
Me and Jamie claimed the bunks by the kitchen, unloaded some of our stuff and waited outside with Alejandra for our guide called Wilson Puya, funnily enough.
|This guy knew what we were in for|
We trekked for a good couple of hours until we hit a sign pointing N,E,S,W. Here we had some options apparently. South read "Moderate, 3 Hours" North (the way we came) "Moderate 2 Hours" West "Difficult 6 Hours" and East "Difficult 8 Hours". Well you can imagine which one we took. At Cajas, when they say "Dificil" they aren't fucking around. They don't mean "Not suitable for wheelchair users", they mean "Not suitable for anyone other than hardy mountain goats with something to prove".
|"Wilson I'm sorry!"|
At one point Wilson slipped off of a rock and nearly rolled off a cliff edge, and I have to say I was a little disappointed that I couldn't scream "WILSOOOOON" like Tom Hanks on Castaway, but that's just because my brain was fried from concentrating on the ground for so long. Also, since I'd recovered from my bout of explosively discharging food my stomach had gotten quite used to the idea of lunch and was protesting loudly at missing it. We stopped briefly at one of the enormous lakes; "Mamamac" and Wilson pointed out a rocky outcrop we could camp on, telling us we wouldn't even need a tent (fat chance).
|Level: Jurassic park|
Come 10.30 we all retired citing early starts to do the same thing again tomorrow.
I slept badly due to my feet being frozen solid and the Dutch woman getting up to chunder a few times.