Friday, 2 December 2011

Chimbote to Huaraz

Tues 29th November

It was another one of those early starts (up at 6am) as the plan was to move inland and ride a route through the 'Canyon del Pato' in the Cordillera Blanca mountains.

First problem was to find the correct road from Chimbote. Come forward the Knight in a shining black Nissan. Unfortunately we didn't get this guy's name but he drove 10 miles out of his way to lead us to the road that we wanted. Once again we're humbled by the desire of people to help over here.

It started on tarmac..........

......changing to a dusty gravel track with scenery reminiscent of our trips to the Himalayas

and bridges to cross with suspect wooden planking.

Unless you wanted a face full of dust all day, you didn't follow too close.

The road/track is well known to the adventure biking World and is some 80 km's long....

...... cut through and

out of the side of the mountains.

Progress was pretty slow as although the road was hard packed, the surface......

....... was made up of quite large rough stones that made it a bone shaking experience on our old steeds that seem to lack any noticeable suspension (perhaps we need to do some adjusting).

We passed through a number of what appeared deserted hamlets but........

..... perhaps they heard us coming and locked the doors.

One of the few spots along this road that wasn't just bare rock and a sign that there was some life about.......

A little man made oasis for the weary and thirsty traveller.

Back on the road and it was more of the same.......

We passed several small coal mines that seem to be entirely worked by hand. There were four very, very black guys shovelling coal into this lorry in temperatures that had us sweating just standing there and no showers to get them clean after a days work. Sadly I suspect that their life expectancy is pretty short breathing in all that coal dust on top of the general pollution in these parts.

Another community somehow scratching an existence out of these mountains

Once again the scenery was all the more dramatic simply by its bleakness.

The road eventually returned to tarmac when we came to a large hydro electricity complex where no doubt the company/government built proper roads to build/service it. Another 80 or so km's and we were in Huaraz drinking beer to lubricate our dusty throats.

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