Rest day had been long due but the mining town of Oyon was not the best place to stop. We scored some "miner-priced" goodies from the fancy bakery and were off.
It was a big climb ahead and we passed by more mines. Interesting how they all have planted trees and rock sogns about caring for the ebpnvironment but when they shut down everything is just left to rust and rot.
Some switchbacks up I grabbed onto a slow truck and they stopped to let Sylvain grab as well. Perhaps the left side is a little harder and he let go, me I held onto one of the most unomfortable truck endings, also pedaling as I couldn't solely hold on with my hand. Luckily the guys stopped every 20 minutes to flip sheep back on their feet and let the sheep relieve themselves. Even luckier that the liquids coming out of the truck were not dripping to me...
Eventually the guys gave me a rubber loop to hold onto!
I had a good hour and a half basking in the half sun waiting for my friend.
The dark clouds came just when Sylvain did.
but wait, whats that on the rocks?
Then bam a mine with a big gate, a shepherd told us its on halt but there was still the looming danger of possibly getting turned back as there were fresh tire tracks.
I was looking around with excitement, such a view. I was about to ask Sylvain if he wants to camp here when I realized that good water may not be that easy to find.
instead we descended down to a much warmer attitude of 3900m and set up camp at the baseball court. A man said we should register with the Ronda but we just asked him to trow in a good word for us and let them know two gringos will sleep at the court. It was one of those rare days that the concrete was warmed up from the little sunlight in the evening and it didnt rain so we made dinner outside.
For the first time in a while, we descended down to 2900m, the valley from above looked big and steep yet the walls were covered with carefully crafted terraces to allow for farming (but it seems that now they are just pastures)
There was a good breakfast on the bottom of the valley and for a brief moment at 3000m we felt like supermen with all that extra oxygen.
Low altitude (2900m) donkeys with nice colorful earings
and it seems that the peruvian secret service has ears everywhere. I need to watch what i say about them burros and horses around here!
now the funny stuff is that the day before me and Sylvain had lunch at a junction, me thinking that this road would be some peruvian mountain super highway with lots of traffic and considering searching for a way across 2km straight line across a ridge that kind of seemed to have some sort of a trail or something... well. This was the road, highlighted as major highway on open street maps:
and at every valley where there was a stream, there was life, shy girls spinning alpacka wool and stone homes old and new amidst the typical stone fence corrals
and then there are our houses. I love roads like that that you can set up next to the road and not worry about cars or anything.
morning was spent pondering just how and why this road was build if there was nothing up there.
and then I saw two dogs and a sheep (????) run out of a little house to have a look at me. Then as I waited for Sylvain a little a man walked out and we talked. He lives here alone at 4700m while his family is in the bigger town way down. The houses are tiny but with a good reason, it warms up very well, I assume mostly by your breathing.
lima only 170km from here
the pass was unusually sunny and surprisingly not windy!
we went down on the long descend ocassionally getting slowed down by some mud. After looking at this funny little house Sylvain went on, I took a photo and it turned out there was a puppy waiting outside. Easy to miss!
I had to protect the little pooch while the chickens tried to rob him of his crackers. What bullies! Maybe that is why he is so skinny.
then some little alpacka showed up and started sucking on my nose and fingers
on the descend I keep swirling left and right like a drunk man, looking at the giant walls and their amazing textures. Seeming even much grander in the afternoon sun. The photos conver nothing, the videos neither. You need to look at this in person to appreciate the massive pieces of rock, the only place where the Alpackas cant venture!
After a good descent we chat for a bit and Sylvain is keen on exiting toward Lima from here. To be honest it had been a non-stop and not exactly easy ride and hike-a-bike from Huaraz. A gentle cruise down to lima seems like a good choice.
while munching on some tuna and transfering photos, I see a band of burros making their way up the valley
Me as well, with my visa time ticking down rather rapidly and many nameless passes ahead I wonder about the feasibility of taking a flatter coastal route. As the burros reach us, we shake hands, thats it! Rad to have company for the last 3 weeks but... as the mountains call John Muir......