Category Archives: hiking

chaparri!

a couple of weeks ago, i received a last minute phone call from my friend, tina, who asked ali and i to join the ministerio de turismo at chaparri…all expenses paid. of course i knew better than to say no, and freely offered my help as they were looking for gringos to use in new promotional materials they are making for the ministerio de turismo.

chaparri is a nature reserve about 90 minutes from chiclayo and generally speaking is quite expensive to reach because of its remoteness. however, the reserve is famous to bird watchers and animal lovers around the world. it has partnerships with zoos in france and london, and pumas, foxes, wild hogs and the endangered spectacled bear…and of course countless species of birds. here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

letting us know we were headed in the right direction.

letting us know we were headed in the right direction.

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tree sap.

tree sap.

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enjoying the scenery!

enjoying the scenery!

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we thought we heard a cat...surprise!

we thought we heard a cat…surprise!

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the osos!!!

the osos!!!

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the photographer and bear getting personal.

the photographer and bear getting personal.

scratching his back (or) striking a pose? you decide.

scratching his back (or) striking a pose? you decide.

the bears were checking out the aerial camera.

the bears were checking out the aerial camera.

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ali getting photographed.

ali getting photographed.

just hanging out with a cobra...nbd...

just hanging out with a cobra…nbd…

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stepping inside the shaman's office.

stepping inside the shaman’s office.

the whole crew!

the whole crew!

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taking over the sierra.

beautiful huascaran.

beautiful huascaran.

or really, it would have been that the sierra took over me, since i spent the entire time there with a terrible cold that i am just now really getting over. in fact, it took two days after we came down from the mountainous city for my ear to finally pop…it was pretty tragic.

anyways, i headed to the beautiful department of ancash and stayed in huaraz, which is the department’s capital city nestled up in the andes, for a few days for a peace corps training for project design and management (pdm), and followed that training with my in-service training (ist). at pdm, we each brought a community partner that we work with, and introduce them to basic project design and management 101. it’s extremely rich in information and also follows an american schedule, which of course exhausted all the socios, as they are not used to working a 8a-6p schedule without a siesta in the middle of the day. it was also a lot of work to reiterate a lot of the principles that were being taught, but it was great to get to know my socio better, and we have become even better friends as a result!

half of our pdm group w/ socios!

half of our pdm group w/ socios!

me explaining some of the concepts with my socio, berardo.

me explaining some of the concepts with my socio, berardo.

after our long days of training, we went to the main city for water and just to take time to look around. this is me and some of my favorite fellow pcperu 19 ladies.

after our long days of training, we went to the main city for water and just to take time to look around. this is me and some of my favorite fellow pcperu 19 ladies.

and i totally decided to fall for the tourist trap of posing with an alpaca because why not???

and i totally decided to fall for the tourist trap of posing with an alpaca because why not???

while there, in between being sick and at trainings, some ladies and i took the time to see a few other places in ancash.

beautiful yanguy. the original town was destroyed by a landslide, and rebuilt itself in a new location.

beautiful yanguy. the original town was destroyed by a landslide, and rebuilt itself in a new location.

the domineering huascaran.

the domineering huascaran.

the beautiful, turquoise glacier made lake, laguna llanganuco.

the beautiful, turquoise glacier made lake, laguna llanganuco.

as you can see i was unable to contain my excitement.

as you can see i was unable to contain my excitement.

the awesome-looking bark on the trees.

the awesome-looking bark on the trees.

on our way to see pastoruri.

on our way to see pastoruri.

some wild horses.

some wild horses.

one of a kind cacti.

one of a kind cacti.

to get to the glacier, first you go by horseback and then hike for about another mile. this is me and my horse, ol' smokey.

to get to the glacier, first you go by horseback and then hike for about another mile. this is me and my horse, ol’ smokey.

carlhey and i on our horses.

carlhey and i on our horses.

the view on our hike.

the view on our hike.

i made it!!!!

i made it!!!!

the glacier is an excellent example of the dramatic effects of global warming. so much of the glacier has changed just within even the last year!

the glacier is an excellent example of the dramatic effects of global warming. so much of the glacier has changed just within even the last year!

another example of the melting glacier.

another example of the melting glacier.

brrrrrrr!

brrrrrrr!

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moray.

IMG_2608as seen above, i was extremely excited to visit and explore moray. moray is where it is believed that the incas experimented with various crops to find the ideal growing conditions. to do this they had layered circles with various irrigation levels as well, which would test approximately how much sunlight and water was needed for the crop. it is believed that they experimented with more than 250 different types of crops.

an overhead view of moray.

an overhead view of moray.

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look at the snow capped mountain in the background!

look at the snow capped mountain in the background!

 

the extremely safe and secure steps to get from level to level.

the extremely safe and secure steps to get from level to level.

 

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salineras de maras.

IMG_2588The Salineras de Maras have been around since pre-Incan times. Fed by a natural, underwater spring in the neighboring mountain, the ponds catch the water as it makes its way down into the valley, and the locals wait for the ponds to dry. After, they harvest both natural table salt and fancy pink salt that can be used in cooking delicious items, or if you are really creative, you can carve figures out of the salt…

hundreds of salt ponds lined the narrow valley.

hundreds of salt ponds lined the narrow valley.

salt lining the sides of a pond. there were so many fascinating salt formations to be seen.

salt lining the sides of a pond. there were so many fascinating salt formations to be seen.

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huayna picchu.

IMG_2449to begin our day at machu picchu, we decided to hike huayna picchu. it is the tall, looming mountain above machu picchu. they only allow 400 hikers a day, and the ascent is only 1,000 feet. what they fail to mention is by “ascent” they mean “near vertical climb” and one uses a metal cable install only 7 years ago, to help you reach the top. and guess what! it was TOTALLY worth it! it was quite the accomplishment, and though i had altitude sickness problems, i still loved it. i highly recommend it.

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beginning our hike…and the last picture until we just about reached the top…i was too busy trying to not fall off the side of the mountain…

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there were more ruins found at the top, where the high priest and many of the virigins lived.

we made it! it was only raining a tiny bit....ha...

we made it! it was only raining a tiny bit….ha…

 

to reach the true summit, we had to crawl through a tiny cave. quite the adventure!

to reach the true summit, we had to crawl through a tiny cave. quite the adventure!

the clouds parted a bit, so you could see the road that the busses take to take visitors to machu picchu.

the clouds parted a bit, so you could see the road that the busses take to take visitors to machu picchu.

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the clouds parted for a brief second, and i snapped a picture of the view of machu picchu from above.

the clouds parted for a brief second, and i snapped a picture of the view of machu picchu from above.

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mp looking over the ledge.

mp looking over the ledge.

this was a super safe stairwell...especially when it was wet from all the rain.

this was a super safe stairwell…especially when it was wet from all the rain.

making our way back down the mountain.

making my way back down the mountain.

another quick cloud parting.

another quick cloud parting.

WE DID IT! and you know, it was difficult, but sosososososo worth it!

WE DID IT! and you know, it was difficult, but sosososososo worth it!

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machu picchu.

we awoke extra early to take a taxi at 6 am to our train station. where we took a 1 1/2 hour train ride to the town of machu picchu.

we awoke extra early to take a taxi at 6 am to our train station. where we took a 1 1/2 hour train ride to the town of machu picchu.

wide awake and enjoying our early morning commute!

wide awake and enjoying our early morning commute!

the town of machu picchu. from here we took a 15 minute bus ride up the mountain to the base of machu picchu.

the town of machu picchu. from here we took a 15 minute bus ride up the mountain to the base of machu picchu.

 

the great-grandfather of my old boss put machu picchu on the map.

the great-grandfather of my old boss put machu picchu on the map.

 

it is rainy season in cusco right now, so throughout the entire morning it was raining...but still beautiful!

it is rainy season in cusco right now, so throughout the entire morning it was raining…but still beautiful!

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a view with the clouds.

a view with the clouds.

 

in the morning we climbed huayna picchu (the tall mountain in the back)...while it was pouring rain...after our hike, i devoured the entire buffet at the lodge, and the sun kindly came out in the afternoon and proved just how incredible machu picchu really is.

in the morning we climbed huayna picchu (the tall mountain in the back)…while it was pouring rain…
after our hike, i devoured the entire buffet at the lodge, and the sun kindly came out in the afternoon and proved just how incredible machu picchu really is.

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this guy has the best view.

this guy has the best view.

 

the watch tower.

the watch tower.

the three-window temple.

the three-window temple.

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the sundial.

the sundial.

i met up with some friends in the town square.

i met up with some friends in the town square.

overall, the amount of planning and coordination that went into this portion of the trip was more than worth it. it truly was incredible. you would think with as much as we always hear people say how incredible of a place it is, it would be overrated and leave much to be wanting, but that certainly was not the case. i highly recommend taking the time to take a visit to machu picchu. it will be the most expensive thing you do in peru, but you will never regret it. it is quite mesmerizing.

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and so it began.

these last two weeks i have been playing host to the most anticipated visitor of 2012. it was more than worth the 6.5 month wait (but, who was keeping track?). during the two weeks i was able to share my life in site, experience one of the wonders of the world and just enjoy time with my best friend. though, to be honest, i was having too much fun to take a lot photos, though i am pretty sure mp disagrees on that point. ha. anyways, enjoy the following posts as they document our short two weeks of adventures!

trying his first chica morada. little did he know just how delicious they are...

trying his first chica morada. little did he know just how delicious they are…

i had so many little surprises throughout the first week. many of which included my favorite treats from texas...including these homemade s'mores from tillman's roadhouse!!!!!

i had so many little surprises throughout the first week. many of which included my favorite treats from texas…including these homemade s’mores from tillman’s roadhouse!!!!!

mp roasting a mallow.

mp roasting a mallow.

one of the days, we packed a picnic and hiked our way to the penguins. though we had been lathering ourselves in sunscreen, we still had pretty funny sunburns from this excursion. but the ocean was a dream and the penguins were lively!

one of the days, we packed a picnic and hiked our way to the penguins. though we had been lathering ourselves in sunscreen, we still had pretty funny sunburns from this excursion. but the ocean was a dream and the penguins were lively!

while in chiclayo, we celebrated christmas with the other peru 19er’s with a secret santa exchange! it was a blast and we all had so much fun with it!

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gocta falls.

gocta falls is the third largest waterfall in the world and was only discovered a little more than ten years ago. pause and ponder about how incredible that is…considering how small the world we live in today and that so much of it is only now being discovered…wow…

anyways, it was quite the adventure out there. it was a 30 minute drive to a town. once you get to the town, you must take a local guide with you, and you proceed to begin your 4.5 mile hike each way (taking 2 ½ – 3 hours each way), where you hike up and down 2 ½ mountain sides to get to the base of the falls. you do have the option to take a horse for 25 soles…which i highly recommend….in fact, you are crazy, like me, not to. the hike back was probably one of the more challenging hikes i have even done, but every bit of it was worth it. to put it into the perspective, there were probably 25 people in our group. only one started on a horse…the pregnant lady. half-way through the hike to the falls, there was a chance to request a horse for the way back for 20 soles…at that point 20 people were requesting horses…

on the hike you will see plenty of toucans, and if you are lucky you will get to see some monkeys…and if you are not lucky, you will see a puma. i only saw toucans, which was more than what most other people saw. and even though i just about died while hiking, i can easily say that this place was one of the most beautiful, majestic places i have ever seen.

the view on the drive out to the falls

the view on the drive out to the falls.

view of the falls from the town where we started the hike.

view of the falls from the town where we started the hike.

view while hiking....there are going to be a lot of pictures of waterfalls in this post....not apologizing...

view while hiking….there are going to be a lot of pictures of waterfalls in this post….not apologizing…

white orchid.

white orchid.

our first uphill hike of the day...this uphill lasted a good 25 minutes...

our first uphill hike of the day…this uphill lasted a good 25 minutes…

the view of the town where we started from...

the view of the town where we started from…

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i was there.

i was there.

sunburned from the day before, and my legs still itch from the mosquito bites...

sunburned from the day before, and my legs still itch from the mosquito bites…

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a really awesome-looking mushroom.

a really awesome-looking mushroom.

when we finally were able to see the base, but no longer the top half of the falls.

when we finally were able to see the base, but no longer the top half of the falls.

i did what any normal person would do after hiking in hot, hot heat for 3 hours to the waterfall: i rushed to climb and swim underneath it...duh...

i did what any normal person would do after hiking in hot, hot heat for 3 hours to the waterfall: i rushed to climb and swim underneath it…duh…

don't worry mom, i was being careful...ish...carefulish...

don’t worry mom, i was being careful…ish…carefulish…

way off in the distance, you can see two pale-people spots directly underneath the waterfall...the one on the left is me...the power of the water was incredible.

way off in the distance, you can see two pale-people spots directly underneath the waterfall…the one on the left is me…the power of the water was incredible.

i could not get over the folds.

i could not get over the folds.

the green was absolutely breathtaking.

the green was absolutely breathtaking.

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some awesome-looking beetles.

some awesome-looking beetles.

what i should have taken...no regrets...

what i should have taken…no regrets…

right before i hiked 1 hour straight uphill...nbd...(i obviously had no idea what i was about to encounter...).

right before i hiked 1 hour straight uphill…nbd…(i obviously had no idea what i was about to encounter…).

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kuelap.

warning: there are a ridiculous amount of pictures in this post…it was just too hard to not share all of these…also, i live in the flat, brown desert, so the green mountainside just captivated me.

for our first day in chacha, we took a tour to kuelap, which is an ancient incan fortress about 2 hours outside of chachapoyas.

view from the car ride.

view from the car ride.

behind me are some more ruins where people had created homes inside of the mountain.

behind me are some more ruins where people had created homes inside of the mountain.

more scenery.

more scenery.

the fortress from below, before we started our hike. historians have concluded that if the incans had made kuelap their center capital, then the spaniards would not have been able to conquer them and history would have been forever changed...

the fortress from below, before we started our hike. historians have concluded that if the incans had made kuelap their center capital, then the spaniards would not have been able to conquer them and history would have been forever changed…

entering the park...

entering the park…

zack, robert and i right outside of the ruins.

zack, robert and i right outside of the ruins.

more of the incredible view.

more of the incredible view.

one of the three entrances into the three-level fortress.

one of the three entrances into the three-level fortress.

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you can see where it's raining.

you can see where it’s raining.

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hiking up the entrance to the first level. i am convinced that the incans had to have incredible legs....

hiking up the entrance to the first level. i am convinced that the incans had to have incredible legs….

the crew with some of the ruins and the incredible view.

the crew with some of the ruins and the incredible view.

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robert's dream pose.

robert’s dream pose.

pretending to lose my balance and fall...or that is exactly what is happening...that is up to you to decide....

pretending to lose my balance and fall…or that is exactly what is happening…that is up to you to decide….

a tiny cottage LITERALLY in the middle of nowhere.

a tiny cottage LITERALLY in the middle of nowhere.

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this picture seems pretty accurate.

this picture seems pretty accurate.

i was there.

i was there.

the incans buried themselves in the walls there. not creepy or anything...

the incans buried themselves in the walls there. not creepy or anything…

the three lines mean: god of the heavens, god of the earth, god of the underworld.

the three lines mean: god of the heavens, god of the earth, god of the underworld.

one of the kitchens...the line of the rocks on the right are thought to be where they stored their cuys (guina pigs).

one of the kitchens…the line of the rocks on the right are thought to be where they stored their cuys (guinea pigs).

 

eye of the puma.

eye of the puma.

sepent and eye of the crocodile.

sepent and eye of the crocodile.

it was said that more than 3,000 people lived in this fortress. also, loved that there were llamas EVERYWHERE.

it was said that more than 3,000 people lived in this fortress. also, loved that there were llamas EVERYWHERE.

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a mochika face.

a mochika face.

some pato (duck).

some pato (duck).

the crew with the the bottle-shaped "great temple."

the crew with the the bottle-shaped “great temple.”

the exit...nbd...

the exit…nbd…

robert making the hike down.

robert making the hike down.

the most breath-taking exit i have ever encountered.

the most breath-taking exit i have ever encountered.

the hike back.

the hike back.

 

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