Hitting the road tomorrow so now seemed like a good opportunity to sling up a quick post with some pics. In Arequipa at present in the south. I had thought I might go north to begin with but the wet season seems to be lingering much longer up that way (it’s an el Niño year)… and purely by chance an old riding friend happened to be flying into Peru from New Mexico earlier this week for some riding so it would have been rude not to have met up. Having a few days to get over the flight and the 17hr overnight bus journey from Lima to Arequipa has been a blessing, I picked up a bit of a chest bug on the flight.. it seems that I nearly always do on long haul… however Arequipa is a lovely town to spend a few days resting, enjoying some fine Andean beers, and good food while making some plans for the trails ahead. It sits at an altitude of 2300m so the air is a little fresher than down on the coast and the temperatures a highly agreeable 23-25 degs or so in the sun with pleasantly chill nights.
From here it looks like a long climb, happily on dirt, of 90 miles, to 16,000ft enroute to Chivay and hence to Cotohuasi some 500km distant.. that’s as far as any planning has gone so far. Expecting to take 3 days over the initial climb – to acclimatize, work the remains of this bug out of my chest, adapt to expedition riding again.. and purely to enjoy the mountains. There are a lot of volcanoes around here to appreciate. Arequipa sits in the shadow of one, El Misti, its summit at 19,000ft gleaming with a light dusting of snow.
Peru’s towns feel vastly more prosperous now than they did when I first visited 20 years ago (yikes), with a more stable political situation the middle classes have grown… the downside being more cars. Arequipa is pretty clogged, as was Lima. Looking forward to getting out into the mountains where life hasn’t really changed in a long time… in the meantime here are a few snaps.