We started the day with a hearty papa rellenas and spicy sauce breakfast before meeting our group for the trip.
First stop was the helmet and glove store, the one of us with the giant head didn't manage to get any of the various helmets to fit.... So did the whole tour with either a flat cap or head mounted video camera as the only protection! Luckily this didn't turn out to be a problem.
Then it was up the hill to try out the bikes, it was here we realised the need for the proper downhill mountain bikes with disc brakes.Not only was the gradient quite steep but there was a layer of gravel across the road which made it very skiddy.
Our guide for the day warned us about camels on the road, this confused us as we didn't think there were camels in South America. It turned out we'd misheard him and he said 'camions' the Spanish word for trucks. There were loads of them going up and down the hill to the quarry below, this only added to the sense of danger!
We had read the flyer saying only 25% uphill and moderate level we thought this sounded like a couple of hrs riding then a nice swim at the end. How wrong we were, after negotiating the steep 8km descent we had a further 5km uphill slog, this involved negotiating land slides and wide river streams.
Then it was an hours hike on some very sketchy terrain before we finally got to our destination. But it was well worth it, the secret canyon at the end of the river was beautiful. Scores of parakeets flew above us as we swam in the ice cold water. Tim ventured further into the canyon as was rewarded with stunning waterfalls and stunning natural rock formations. This little piece of paradise was the perfect reward to all our blood, sweat and tears!