Peruvian Adventure 5/18/2006-6/28/2006

Steamboat Denver Miami Lima Huaraz Cordillera Blanca Huaraz Lazy Dog and LlacaCordillera Huayhuash Huaraz Lima Miami and home

 

6/11/2006-6/12/2006: Lazy Dog Retreat: For three days have been hanging out at the Lazy Dog Retreat at the base of Quebrada Llaca about 30 minutes south and 1,500 ft up of from Huaraz. This is a pretty amazing place with an equally amazing story behind it. Two expatriate Canadians, Diane and Wayne, had traveled and worked through out South America for many years. Wayne as an environmental manager and Diane as a teacher. After a contract stint with Huascaran National Park and one of the local mining companies they had to decide whether to return to Canada or something else. They chose something else and decided to put down some roots and truly integrate with the community. While the local hill people are very friendly they are a bit suspicious and not accepting of outsiders, so Diane and Waynes lives as Peruvians to this point had been a combination of great satisfaction and great frustration. From what I could see they were tough as nails and up for the challenge

Diane on the left along with a group of school children as we walk up to the Lazy Dog from Huaraz

 

They had been able to purchase 4.5 hectors (10 acres) of land in a beautiful meadow near the outlet of the Llaca Valley. Over a couple of years they had hired local labor to build a walled compound with horse meadow and a guest house. The compound was intended to be a secure fortress that would discourage would be thieves. As they explained, while the locals were non-violent, they seemed to believe that if someone else had something they didnt that they seemed compelled to obtain it (as in steal it) for their own.

Section of the Lazy Dog wall

There was no question their light skin, automobile and imposing spiked wall (see above) set them apart from their Quechua neighbors, but in spite of this they seemed to be building a their place in the community. They had spent countless hours organizing road improvement efforts, cleaning up the community, improving water and teaching children and adults. Diane still teaches and works with local families, and together they are one of the major employers in the area. This Canadian couple can best be described as a combination of adventurers, entrepreneurs and unofficial Peace Corps volunteers.

We stayed in a guest house at the north end of the horse meadow with views across the valley north to the Cordillera Negra and south to Quebrada Llaca.

Our guest house at the Lazy Dog Retreat. Huaraz is the cluster of buildings barely seen just left of center in the bottom of the valley.

 

Diane cooked every meal and we ate with them in their house. Mo needed some acclimatization hikes so we trekked in to the local hills to about 14,000 ft one day and the following day Diane and Wayne joined us for a hike to Laguna Llaca at the end of the Llaca Valley. The lake was at around 15,000 ft and from there we looked up another 5,000 ft to the summits of Ranrapalca, Ochapalca and Vallanaraju.

On our way up Quebrada Llaca with Ochapalca just left of center and Ranrapalca with its double pointed summit just to the right.

 

Mo and I standing just above the shores of Laguna Llaca with Ranrapalca in the background.

Wayne relaxing at Laguna Llaca

 

We returned to Huaraz last night in time to prepare for our Huayhuash trek, get dinner and party a little with some friends from the Andino. Today we left Huaraz at 9 AM in a van and climbed 3,000 ft to a pass through the Cordillera Negra. From there we dropped about 5,000 ft on winding dirt roads to the base of a valley, then climbed another 5,000 ft were we were deposited in beautiful meadow at Matconcha, the beginning of our Huayhuash trek. Tomorrow morning we will set off for a twelve day 100+ mile walk around the Cordillera Huayhuash, one of the two or three most beautiful treks on the planet.

 

Peru Adventure Part Two Chapter X

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