Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Jungles and Deserts and Glaciers, Oh My!

I continue to be amazed at just how beautiful this world is! I'm now in Peru and, since my last post, have been all over the place. First, we were able to ride one of National Geographic's Top 10 Train Rides in the world. It's in Southern Ecuador and is called ¨La Nariz Del Diablo,¨ which translates ¨The Devil's Nose.¨ It has that name because you literally go down the side of an extremely steep mountain through a series of switchbacks. Finished in the early 20th century, it was the pinnacle of railroad technology and is still a feat to behold. Heck, you even get to ride on the roof! Haha, it was really an awesome experience and I can see why National Geographic thinks so highly of it :-)

From there, we made our way across the border and down to Trujillo, Peru. We stopped there because nearby are the ancient ruins of Chan Chan which, built around AD 1300, is the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas and the largest adobe city in the world! While alot of the ruins have eroded over the years, the sheer size was simply unbelivable.

From Trujillo, we went to Caraz, a small town outside of the better-known Huaraz, where we hiked the Lagunas Llanganuco. These are two lagunas nestled in a glacial valley only 1000 meters below the snow line! It was the first time I had ever got to see snow-capped mountains and the view, especially reflected off of the glacial lake, was truly stunning. We were actually able to see views of Huascaran (6768m), Chopicalqui (6354m), Chacraraju (6112m) and Huandoy (6395m). These moutains, all part of the Cordillera Blanca, are some of the most popular in the world to hike and climb. Huascaran is actually the highest tropical summit in the entire world! And Alpamayo (5947m), another mountain we got a great view of from Caraz, has even been labeled the most beautiful moutain in the world because of it's knife-edged, perfectly pyramidal northern silhouette. So yea, for a Florida boy like me, to get to see such an amazing display was really a treat!

*As a side note, these three trips meant that we were actually in the Ecuadorian jungle, the Peruvian desert and a glacial valley in three consective days. Talk about a change of environment!

Finally, from Caraz, we made our way to Lima where we are now. We've spent the last 2 days relaxing from our long mountain hikes and preparing for the next 2 weeks which will consist of non-stop trekking. Tomorrow, we head to Cuzco and then to Machu Picchu! We then go around the entirety of Southern Peru, making our way back to Lima. Mike then heads home and I go back to Colombia for a few more months of volunteering.

So yea, I'm absolutely exhausted, haha. It is such a blessing to be able to see so much in so little a time, but it definitely tests the limits of my endurance! Well, my flight for Cuzco leaves early in the morning so I have to get what little rest I can. I'll try and post soon, but I may be back in Colombia before I get another opportunity to send an update. Either way, I hope all is well back home and can't wait to talk to you all soon!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh Kevin it's so amazing to hear about all the sweet places you get to visit! Believe it or not I just finished studying Peru in Spanish class lol. I hope you're having a great time and taking TONS of pictures. Especially Machu Picchu (or however you spell it). Miss you mucho and love ya lots!
--Emily Goodwin =D