Well my chicos had a 4.30 am start to start their mountain climb. I had a lie in until 5.30 am as the mulas don't like the dark. It was still dark when I got up and as I looked up the mountain I could see their flashlights snaking around the edge - it did bring a tear to my eye I was so proud of them all (actually the tear may have been because I cricked my neck looking up!) Finally met my mula at 7 am. I think all the mulas had a meeting beforehand to discuss tactics for the climb and decided the following:
1. the front mula would take it easy to slow up the climb as much as possible.
2. They would make the experience as frightening as possible for the tourists by only walking at the very edge of the single track path up the mountain.
3. They would all stop at the highest and most dangerous looking drops for as long as possible!
My mula was a sturdy beast which pleased me immensley, however he thought he was a racehorse not a mula and tried to overtake all the other mulas whenever he could on a single dirtrack with horrendous drops, eventually one of the guides had to lead him to stop this from happening! There is a road in Bolivia called "Death Road" which backpackers ride down on a bicycle, I reckon it is only a matter of time before the climb up the Colca Canyon gets named "Death Dirt Track on a Mula".
I was finally reunited with my chicos after 1 1/2 hours they had all climbed the mountain within 2 1/2 hours (1 hour quicker than the average time) and I was very proud of them all! We did some touristy stops on our way back to the hostel and finally got back around 5 pm. The celebratory drinks commenced at 7pm to the sound of Dan the Aussies story telling. I have to say the last 3 days have been the most fun we have had since we began our trip it's just a shame it involved mountains or it would have been perfect!!