We leave Huancayo following the Shullcas River, up past Vilcacoto. The windy road displays the ecological changes as we go up higher and higher. At 3500 m, we will already find that the trees and most plant vegetation has disappeared and in its place the ichu grass starts to grow. Just after we leave the last village, Acopalca, we find some curious cactus and bromilieas hanging from the rocky mountains.
We'll get a taste for the Andean way of life with our Andean friends in the town of Rondapampa. We continue further up and arrive at the starting point of our trek. As we traverse down hill we will immediately notice one of the glacial lakes, and will aim our efforts to reach that lake. When we arrive at the lake a beautiful surprise will be in front of us ... the whole range of snowy peaks will be right there reflected in the lake! Now we take our time to trek around the lake, after which we will stop for a snack at the shepherds’ hut.
Back on the trail we walk up towards the second lake, Cochas Grande, which cannot be seen until you are in front of it. An emerald lake into which glacial waters flow, this peaceful view will be our company for lunch. We set up the tents to camp here, but after lunch we go up to our sacred mountain, which will involve a trek up the steep rocky walls until we reach the glacier point. It is here that we pay respect to the mountain, feeling the good energy, and of course enjoying the magnificent view.
Now we are ready to come down, it is almost dark and we will arrive at our campsite just in time to get our dinner, a good hot soup and hot calientito making our sleep more enjoyable.
We get up and enjoy our breakfast, pack and start trekking towards the highest pass at 4800 m. This pass is a big aim, but we are lucky, as we are without our backpacks, so that we can enjoy the steep way up and the views with less effort,but those looking for punishment are welcome to carry some stones.
As we go up we will see a number of lakes, birds and possibly the famous Viscachas. When we are tired, convenient stops and good chocolate for energy will be provided. Yes we all make it to the pass and there we will have lunch.The view to both sides is just amazing!
We have to take care trekking down hill, taking the next 2 hours to climb down, hard on the muscles, but the always-comforting feeling of making it pushes us on. Once we have reached our destination, we will take our transport back to Huancayo where we meet for dinner at La Cabaña - after a good shower of course!