We woke to find a couple dogs guarding us from who knows what, but every hour or so after 5 am they would wake us with their growling at apparantly nothing. A few locals walked past our campsite as we were cooking breakfast and greeted us with a friendly and loud “¡Buenos Dias!”. We hiked upward through the tiny hillside town of San Juan de Chulcha and it seemed that everyone was either out of town, or asleep, or off working in a garden somewhere, because there was no one to be seen anywhere. Maybe it was just too hot, but anyway we passed the school house and asked the teacher directions to the next town along the way, Cosñirhua, a really hard-to-pronounce Quechua word. The hike to Cosñirhua would be about another hour and half away and mostly uphill. We must have stopped 15 times on the really steep uphill switchbacks… It was the hottest part of the day and we finally made it up to a small flat part that was about only a quarter of the way up the canyon. We took a break there to repair some of Leah’s blisters… this was her first trek ever and she was kicking ass for being so tough and not complaining about her feet or anything!
We hiked on to the nearby town of Malata where we met a man who offered to meet us the following morning at the Oasis where we would be staying for the night and we could hire his mule to carry our packs back up to the top of the canyon. We agreed to 4:30 in the morning and headed off back down into the canyon.
The Oasis place was quite cool, situated in a sharp bend of the river where there was a low lying area that had been developed with three little hospedajes each having a small swimming pool, some palm trees and nice fresh grass where we could set up our tent! We attempted to cook a meal of rice on my MSR stove, which proved pretty damn difficult… we’re now gonna stick to pasta dishes. The place wasnt overly crowded and we just kind of stuck to ourselves for the evening. while other people were paying for dinner and way overpriced beer, we just chilled by our tent and studied the stars and had some interesting convros about some of the funny laws in ireland and america… Leah is studying to be a lawyer. Paul told them about the law in Mass. (i think) whereby it was once legal to shoot a Mormon upon sight…some pretty crazy laws we have that just seem to slip through and stay in the books.