Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 23rd to 24th Nasca, Peru

This will probably be the last post of my South American trip since I am flying back to Austin tomorrow night. I don´t expect to be doing much in Lima, so unless something unexpected happens, this will wrap it up.

Yesterday I arrived in Nasca, Peru to put the final check in the box on this trip. My last ¨must do¨ item was to sandboard the Peruvian dunes. And Nasca is home to the tallest sand dune in the world. So after getting rebuffed yesterday due to road construction, I managed to book a private lesson this morning departing at 3 am.

We hiked until sunrise and then hiked another hour. Then finally at about 8 am, we hit the slopes for some pretty sick sandboarding.

This afternoon, I´m catching my bus to Lima and checking into my hostel for my last night in South America.

I´ll be back in Austin Thursday morning and plan to spend the weekend relaxing and eating Mexican food.

Thanks to everyone who followed along. I hope you enjoyed the blog. Until the next adventure.


Monday, March 23, 2009

March 21st to 22nd-El Misti Volcano, Peru

At 8am I met the 2 guides and 4 other climbers that I would be attempting my El Misti summit with. We headed to the trailhead at 10,000 feet and started our climb toward base camp with all our tents and other camping gear.

We reached base camp (14,500´) at about 4pm, and the guides immediately starting preparing dinner. It would be an early night as we would wake up at 1 am and start our climbing at 2 am using our headlamps. They do this to give everyone the best chance of making the summit and returning to camp before sunset.

We lost one of our group and one of the guides at about 4am and 16,000 feet due to altitude sickness. I was feeling the affects already as well. I had just arrived from sea level 3 days prior which is really not enough time to acclimate.

So we pressed on and watched an amazing sunrise over the volcano, complete with the shadow of the volcano along the horizon. See the pic.

By 8 am we reached the lip of the crater at 18,500´ and then made the final push to the summit (19,100´) by just before 9 am. After a few high fives and some pics, we skied our way down the volcanic ash chute back to base camp. 6 hours to summit. 40 minutes of fantastic descent.

March 19th-Arequipa, Peru

Spent today touring around Arequipa and also decided to book a guide to attempt to ascend El Misti tomorrow. El Misti is the Volcano outside of Arequipa. At 19,100´ it´s taller than any mountain in the US except for Mckinley in Alaska.

I also took a tour of a famous convent here in town and saw how the nuns lived here for the past 400 years.

March 18th Arequipa, Peru

Arrived in Arequipa last night a little later than planned. Hit 3 checkpoints on the bus route and on every single one, something was confiscated by the police. Fortunately none of it was mine.

The last time it happened one of the ladies who was about to lose a bag full of clothes actually got into a physical confrontation with the police. Not smart. Anyway, no pics, decided not to get involved.

So I arrived at my hostel which is very nice and close to the center of town. Got a private room for about $6 US and the hotel has a nice rooftop patio with great views of El Misti. The volcano outside of town.

March 16-17th Santiago to Arica

Arrived in Arica this afternoon. Last town in Chile. Tomorrow morning I catch my bus across the border and then into Arequipa, Peru.

The 28 hour bus ride was uneventful. Fortunately i had the full folddown seat so i spent most of the trip catching up on sleep. The once i hit Arica, I checked into my hostel and went for a run along the beach at sunset. Nice finish to the day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

March 15th-Santiago

So last night i drank too much and stayed out too late with some friends from Costa Rica. Then spent the day running around the city to catch some of the sights. Santiago is a pretty impressive city. Very modern, about 6 million people, and a bit smogy. But overall a pretty nice city.

Although i´ve seen about all i need. I´m ready to catch the bus tomorrow morning to Arica, which is on the Chile-Peru Border.

Hopefully I can get an excursion into the mountains so I can get a good run in. I´m starting to get a good running base in place which is good as I´m on the waiting list for the Pikes Peak Marathon and the NYC Marathon. So might one to be ready in case i get selected.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March 14th Valdivia to Santiago, Chile

Caught the night bus to Santiago Chile. Ponied up the extra $10 for the executive service. Which basically means the seats fold completely flat. Very nice for the night bus.

Was woken up at 8 am when one of the bus guys nudged me as we rolled into the terminal. So i hoped up to grab my bags. Jerked the the earplugs out of my ears (with the attached string) and realized that something just wasn´t right.

I realized one of the earplugs had broken off inside my ear. So i had half an earplug jammed deeper into my head than i thought was possible.

So my first hour in Santiago was spent trying to remove the earplug with various objects including the tweezers and toothpic from my pocket knife. An hour later, I could hear again and the earplug was free.

So after that, I took the Santiago subway to my hostel and got situated for a couple days of touring around town.