Camping behind the Carpa Ranger Station entrance, Ali cooking dinner with views of Mt Murruraju 5580m in the evening light
brewing up the coca tea!
Ali and the park staff, Maximo and ....., Carpa ranger station, PN Huascaran
'Pito' or 'Carpintero' a species of woodpecker making a living and a home in a huge flower spike of a Puya Raymondii
Anna is in there to give some scale to these giant Puyas, Carpa PN Huascaran
Giants of the Andes, Puya raymondii
Anna and Puya raymondii, PN Huascaran
Exploring the giant Puya Raymondii forest near Carpa
the next day, riding past the giant Puyas
landscape of human and nature...stone corrals for alpacas and sheep blend in with the giant boulders on the glacially carved valley floor PN Huascaran
'Puts a rose on every cheek!' vegemite sandwiches at 4600m
Feeling pretty small riding through this twisted, folded and carved landscape
Are we there yet? Ali approaching the turnoff to the Pasto Ruri glacier at around 4650m...still dwarfed by the mountains around us!
Anna riding under the shadow of huge mountain glaciers seemingly spilling onto the gravel road, Pasto Ruri road PN Huascaran
'...nice place to ride, no traffic, a bit chilly, but a pity about the views heh?'
At 4700m and in search of a campsite, as we rounded the bend there it was...yep it's an andean condor. you can tell by its size, the white collar around its neck and the huge spreading fingers
Highcamp at 4600m our record so far with views of the Cordillera Huayhuash
'Do I have to get out of my warm sleeping bag?...it looks cold!'
...and then in the morning we woke up to a winter wonderland!
Morning light on the mountains behind our camp
Anna 'worshipping the sun', quite literally because without it it would be a very cold and miserable morning
Between the passes and under more hanging mountain glaciers
Still no traffic...still pity about the views though!
Climbing to a record elevation for the trip
Morning sun after the snowy night
Nervous vicuña watching us closely (centre left foreground) with the cloud covered tops of the Cordillera Huayhuash looming in the background. around 4800m
Folded vertical rock, a reminder of the forces at work that formed the Andes, near 4850m
The power of nature and time forming the mighty andes - awesome folded rock and finally we are going downhill!
Heading down to meet the Abra Yanashalla and the paved road at a mere 4720m...started to hail/snow/rain at this point...'let's get moving!'
Road carved through carbon and the Cordillera Huayhuash looming
Anna dwarfed by the Cordillera Huayhuash on the descent to the paved highway
Some form of ruin or watchtower high above the road heading towards Huanuco
The 'Ushnu' at Huanuco Viejo a huge Incan site high up on the vast puna above La Union
The 'Ushnu', Huanuco Viejo
Mulit coloured corn cobs drying under the eaves of every house, Acobamba
Village camping at Puente San Juan, a few km short of Chavinillo
The Rio Marañon for the third and final time we have crossed paths...in the background the huge Nevado of Yerupaja 6634m and the source of this mighty river
This friendly family waved us down to talk and to have a photo taken with us, on the way to the 'crown of the Inca' and Punta Union. The girl in front was so cute, but never gave us a smile!
'La corona del Inca' or the 'Crown of the Inca' at Punta Union
'Works and no words!' is this slogan for the 'tree party' and this candidate for provincial mayor
No not gay pride, its the Bloque Popular! The political party for the indigenous population, against the corruption apparently. Amazing the use of peoples property, houses or just rundown adobe constructions for political campaigning
'Marca la papa' the potato party getting freshly painted on someones front wall, Huando
The 'llama' party, good government guaranteed! (for 3 years!)
The 'beanie' party Fredapa...yep, its presidential election time in Peru
Wet night camping at 4150m, with a dirty swamp and herds of alpacas
'We are Peru'
Andean geese on the high Junin plain
Mmm...sometimes things get a little grim on the toilet front in Peru. Nice foot marks but its only a small hole to aim for! Typical service station toilet in the remote parts of Peru
Typical over protective dog on the chase to get us.... Given our love of dogs, when did it become normal for us to throw rocks with the intention of hitting one of these aggressive mutts before they rip off one of our panniers (or legs)?
Dry stone wall fencing high on the Junin plain
Maca 'para la fuerza'...on the Junin high plain we were in Maca Country, this place even had an "Ali" especial de Maca
In the good old Australian tradition of having a giant 'something' that a town is proud of producing...in Huayre they have the giant purple Maca root adorning their Plaza de Armas that you can see from kilometres away towering over the town like any good eyesore should! I think that is a mycrorhyzal fungi on the left too!
Maca root being harvested and dried on big black tarpaulins on the outskirts of Junin
Anna feeling strong on the Maca 'para la fuerza'. Love the patriotic Maca root with the Peruvian flag!
Lago de Junin at around 4100m
'Vicuñas!', altiplano between Junin and La Oroya
The long and smooth flowing descent from the Junin high plain to La Oroya
Typical 'besa block' rushed construction restaurant but with great trout dishes, all farmed in the river behind. Near La Oroya
The mining village of La Oroya, clean and quiet right now as the US owned 'Doe Peru' lead mine has been shut down for environmental reasons since last November
Riverside camping on the long gradual descent between La Oroya and Juaja on the Rio Mantaro
Ripening heads of 'Quinua', and andean and indeed Incan grain
Anna and her weaving 'maestra' Margareta in Huancayo
Learning the finer points of back-strap weaving, Huancayo
I think there is a donkey under there somewhere?
Roadside shrine to 25 people that were killed when their bus plunged off the relatively straight road into the Rio Mantaro a few years ago just near Izcuchaca. We are continually amazed at the crosses and shrines on Peruvian roads, but not surprising given the quality of the driving we have seen so far
Rio Mantaro valley, we are going up and over, the direct road to Ayacucho follows the river valley
Patchwork of golden field of wheat in different stages of harvest and growth
Golden patchwork of wheat fields and a deep canyon, on the way to Huancavelica
Anna being swamped by friendly kids in Cachi Alta, a brightly coloured and cheerful village...not sure what the broom is for?
...and getting a push downhill by the enthusiastic support crew!
Sheaths of wheat drying in the high andean sun
Golden landscape above 4000m
'I guess this is why the train isn't running today?'...Huancavelica
A typical barber shop 'Peluqueria' with Jesus looking over his work and the overly excited pirate dvd/cd/hardware vendor next door
Coca leaves in every second store, Huancavelica. 1 sol (35 cents) for an ounce bag. We don't like to chew the stuff, but it makes nice tea.
The colonial Iglesia de Santo Domingo in Huancavelica
Anna getting a 'height complex' in Huancavelica next to this old indigenous lady selling puffed wheat and popcorn
Annual sheep dipping competition...andean style!
'Como se llama?'
Llama country above 4000m between Hauncavelica and Lircay
'What are you looking at gringos?'
Curious llamas...'look at the gringa on the bike heh!'
Anna riding through a forest of stone
llamas loaded with potatoes returning from the 'chakras' and fields
Not a 'bed of thorns' but a 'bed of stones'...after discovering that the short grass of the puna was filled with tiny thorns but no time to find another campsite we resorted to building a stone platform of flagstones for the tent to sit on....result: an uncomfortable nights sleep especially considering Ali was up sick and losing things from both ends with a virus!
said 'spines' now embedded by the thousands in our schwalbes
Anna riding through a forest of black limestone pinnacles descending to Lircay
the descent to Lircay
oh the shame...! no not really. a necessity as Ali was recovering from a virus and being sick, and otherwise we would have been stuck in the not so exciting village of Lircay for a few days and still 2 to 3 days hard ride to Ayacucho. we were lucky with a ride all the way, although the bikes got a bit beaten up and dusty on the rough road and rough driving
The profile of the road ahead to Cusco...that's four times over 4000m and three times back down to 2000m...