Peru Divide Part 1 Day 12: Possibly the Hardest Physical Day of our Lives
Peru Divide Part 1 - Day 15 & 16: Brrrr...

July 21 & 22, 2017

Somehow after accomplishing what we felt was one of the hardest days in our lives, we woke up energized and ready to tackle the continuing climb.

What happened…

Andrew writes: We still had another 7km or so to climb to the first pass today, and it was a lot more of what made yesterday crappy. See that nice picture above? I’m hiking through sheep shit. That’s part of the climb today. What a joy this Great Divide route has become. Am I sounding a little bitter and tired about this whole endeavour yet? It’s awful. I’m miserable. I just want a nice paved road and a cold beer.

Reaching the top of the first pass though, the landscape changed from being really brown and dry, to suddenly everything was green again. The descent was largely uneventful, although Amanda required an emergency change of disc-brake pads which didn’t take long, maybe only 20 minutes of standing in sheep shit. There are a lot of sheep around here, and cows, and llamas. When we reached camp, a few KM away from nearby Vichaycocha, I volunteered to ride my bike in to try and find some food and fuel for the stove. While we thought we had enough to get us to the end of this bugger, I always feel a little bit better carrying more than we need.

My miserable-ness today made me unbearable to be around. Amanda rode on ahead while I cursed the world for another 16km of climbing. The whole time I just wanted a taxi or collectivo to come along so that I could get a ride. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I caught up to her at the turnoff to Mina Chungar, and we made amends and finished a much easier section of the climb. The last 5km climbing were actually quite pleasant. Then, with the sun starting to fade behind us, we just kept our eyes open on the descent to find a place to put up the tent. Nothing really seemed ideal, and we ended up all the way down at Laguna Naticocha, where they had built a giant dam. It was a very interesting place. There was an abandoned townsite, and the dam, and then a new dam that looks like it had been abandoned mid-construction, and an old mine with a tunnel that we camped beside, and it was really cool actually. Oh, did I say cool? Nah, it was effing freezing that night! Brrrrr…

Amanda writes: When we embarked on this route we knew it wouldn’t be easy. We also agreed that we would at least finish part 1 before making any decisions on tackling the rest of it. Andrew isn’t having fun and I’m trying really hard to not be impacted by his negativity. I’ve got to give him some credit as when we finished our hard day yesterday he was pleased with our accomplishments. But today being a new day, he was back to himself and none too happy that he doesn’t have a paved road and wifi.

Andrew decided to head into town at the end of the first day in spite of the fact that I thought we had more than enough food. Sure we’d have some PB&J sandwiches but I don’t care. At the end I just let him do his thing in hopes that some alone time would help him cheer up. It didn’t really work but it did give us both some time to ourselves.

The next day we started the next section which was a long gradual climb up a valley. Andrew definitely woke up in a worse mood than yesterday. Maybe part of it was that neither of us got a good sleep. Our little camp spot beside the river in a valley proved to be super windy! I really thought the tent poles were going to snap and a few times in the night I was woken by the tent being plastered against my face because the wind was blowing so hard. It resulted in a restless night for both of us. The next day the wind continued and turned out to be a headwind. Andrew made it clear that he was going to ask for a ride up the climb today and I wasn’t going to argue with him based on his mood. The ride never materialized. After a few hours Andrew declared he was going to have lunch and I declined. I continued up the gradual climb and cycled ahead for 2-3 hours. It was nice to just spin the wheels with my music by myself and I really enjoyed it. Andrew caught up later and we finished the day off together. I know he’s unhappy but there is nothing I can do about it and I’m just trying to not let him bring me down.

We worked really hard to find a place sheltered from the wind at the end of the day and then bundled up in the tent. I feel like its getting colder and colder every night and I’m so glad we have the equipment to keep us warm. Sure we carry a lot of shit, but on nights like tonight; it’s worth it!

The aerial view of our ride:

Today’s Photographs

Peru Divide Part 1 Day 12: Possibly the Hardest Physical Day of our Lives
Peru Divide Part 1 - Day 15 & 16: Brrrr...