Nice to take a day bus for a change. Arrived in Huaraz in the afternoon to the pissing down rain, not so good when we're planning on a 4 day trek. Turned out this was was norm at this time of the year, the days always start nice but then at 3-4pm the rain comes along. So after a day chilling out in the town we headed out on the santa cruz trek, which is the most popular trek in the Cordilla Blancas. It was just Mark & I and another dutch couple in our group, along with our guide (Magdalan) and the donkey man and his son.
Absoultly amazing trek! And got looked after so well by the guide and donkey man, they cooked the most amazing food (3 course meals) and woke you up in the morning with hot cup of coca tea. First day was easy walking along the valley, had a bit of rain along the way and managed to get the tents up just in time (thats the donkey man and his son putting them up, and they insist you don't help!) before the rain started to get really heavy.
We were so lucky on the 2nd day and had stunning weather. Mark & I left the group to do an extra hike up to a base camp of one of the peaks to see a beautiful lake and amazing 360 degree views of the mountains. That night we camped at the bottom of the pass we were crossing the next morning. My guts weren't doing so well, and I was up all night going to the toliet, and what made it worse was that it was pissing down.
Woke up the next day to the weather being really bad, which wasn't so good as we had to go over the pass. In saying that it was pretty cool walking through these 2 rocks at the top of pass while it was snowing, felt like we were in lord of the rings! The dutch couple were feeling the altitude, so Mark & I walked on our own each day and were the first people to make it over the pass that day. Luckily, there had been a donkey man bringing his donkeys back from the other direction, as once we got to the other side of the pass it was really hard to see the track as it was covered in snow, so we followed the donkey foot prints. We were quite ahead of everyone else so stopped and waited for a couple of hours near the campsite, and were shocked to see only 3 donkeys, instead of 4 turn up! Our spainish is not so good and we thought the donkey man told us one of the donkeys died coming over the pass, but turned out it died in its sleep the night before, so sad :( . We also saw another donkey, coming from the other direction, slip one of his legs down a hole in the track, so Mark & the donkey man had to lift him out.
Last day was a pretty easy walk out, followed by an insane road out of the national park, luckily it was a good driver. Then we had a day chilling in Huraz. Not many tourists round at this time of the year, so when we were sitting in the park making lunch we had people coming up to us wanting to take photos of their kids sitting with us. After having a few pisco sours with the group we headed back to the bus station to get on yet another night bus.