We have been really lucky with the weather. Contrary to the forecast, it has been really clear and sunny in the town of Huaraz. The city itself is gorgeous, flanked between Cordillera Blanca (because of the white capped mountains) and Cordillera Negra- which is much lower in elevation and thus do not get any snow.
View from the top terrace/ roof of our Hostel. The city of Huaraz was practically destroyed in the 1970s earthquake and since then the city has been haphazardly rebuilding, so the city looks a little bit disorganized and messy.
On our second day in Huaraz, we went ‘hiking’ to Glacier Pastoruri. It’s actually only a 2.5 hours walk round trip, but in really high elevation. The top of glacier itself is elevation 5,300m, or 16,000′. However, in the past 10 years or so, it has been melting so they lost the top 25′. Here’s an interesting article/ interview about the impacts of the melting glaciers to the local Andes population.
We really felt the altitude, taking small steps at a time and running out of breath every minute. We bought coca leaves and coca candy but I really don’t think that they do anything!
The third day here, we went on a more difficult hike- a 13km, 700m elevation gain up to elevation 4,700m (15,400′- almost the top of Mt Whitney!) to Laguna 69-
I felt a bit herded, we were jammed in a bus with 30 other people on a 3 hour one-way bus ride. But the beauty of this place can’t be beat! Top 3 best hikes of my life!