The clouds swirled ‘round as the sun tried to pierce through them. Heading out of Fure, this time high above the river along a trail with an appreciated gentle grade we were walking once more. Bert, our new canine friend ran ahead, guiding the way.
It had rained during the night and we were eager to get out of the dark and misty valley, hoping for some afternoon sunshine. We packed up camp while everything was soaking wet, my pack now weighing noticeably more due to all the extra water weight. But as there was nothing else to do we just kept walking and little by little the sky began to show signs of clearing.
After just a couple more hours of hiking the sky became crystal clear and the sun appeared in a forceful blaze. Stopping at a mirador for lunch we covered every post and support beam of the cabana structure with our wet gear. With such a sun they dried in no time at all. Setting out once again, I strapped on my pack and was pleased to note it had returned to its normal weight.
We walked briefly along the road, before making our descent to Sangalle. Zig-zaging down it became clear that we were not on the official trail, but we knew whereabouts we were going and continued down and down and down, making our way through a forest of prickly pear, picking their ripe fruits as we went. Pin prick cactus needs found their way into the nooks of our hands and the corners of our mouths. A prominent, “Ouch, Ouch, Oouuuuuch!” came from behind me, turning to look I saw my friend licking her fingers, a big grin on her face. “But wooooorth it!” She adds in a sing song voice as she catches my gaze.
Continuing down cactus needs and all, we made our way out onto a small plain where horses and donkeys mingled among the Cacti. Then it was down, down, and down some more to our last bridge over the river and into Sangalle, which is a dreamscape to a weary trekker. A small stream cascades through the property from top to bottom, feeding a cool swimming pool along the way. We set up camp and jumped in, thoroughly enjoying the refreshing chill of the water and the promise of a hot shower afterwards. Throughout my travels I’ve become very skeptical when hot showers are on offer, but these were the real deal. I let the hot water engulf me, relaxing my tired muscles, cleaning off the grit and the grim and it felt so good - an incredible luxury no habitual trekker should get accustom to.
We cooked the rest of our food, we ate, we talked, and went to be at an incredibly reasonable hour. The next morning we were to climb the thousand meters back up to the canyon rim, returning to Cabanconde. It was tough to say the least, but we lumbered up, and I was rewarded with a couple extra hours to get my things in order before catching the bus back to Arequipa.
This was a quick trip, our longer, more ambitious plans cut short by a variety of circumstances, but looking back now with the added twinge of romanticism that only a few days time can provide, it was absolutely delightful. It didn’t take long for the Colca Canyon to become one of my favorite places in Peru.
See the photos from part one! -click here-