One of the many joys of living in Huaraz is that it boasts the best mountain biking in Peru. Not that we’re mountain bikers, except in the sense that we love the mountains, and we love biking in them. But we have ventured out a couple of times on the LHTs onto some chaquinani (singletrack) and inexpertly made our way down the hills into town.
And when the Festival del Andinismo took place in late June, we had a whale of a time watching the Peruvian national mountain biking champion chewing up the opposition in the Cross Country competition, followed by some surprisingly heavy heavy metal bands, and a few tastings of the local micro-breweries’ offerings.
Waiting for the off in the Cross Country race at the Festival del Andinismo. No.18, with the tree trunk thighs, won by a mile. Not surprising really, given he’s the national champion and had been bused in from Ayacucho specifically for the event.
An incongruous scene at Wilcahuain. Some enjoying the heavy metal; others just trying to work out where their sheep have wandered off to.
Some tasty beers from the Sierra Andina micro-brewery. Lucho’s, the other micro-brewery in town, serves up some equally excellent brews. The best of which are flavoured with coca.
A second incongruous scene on a day loop in the Negra. Huaraz’s rubbish dump, backdropped by the magnificent peaks of the Cordillera Blanca. All those plastic bags handed out in shops at every conceivable opportunity have to go somewhere, I suppose.
A eucalyptus tree to admire in the Cordillera Negra.
July, but still some wildflowers left in the Negra.
The abandoned Mina Santo Toribio, another of the ex-mines in this area. I shudder to think what it’ll be like when some of the enormous mines close down – Barrick’s gold mine in the Negra, or the gargantuan Antamina mine, say.
Some not-so-appetizing-looking water near the Santo Toribio mine.
You can cycle through the old mine though, and gawp at all the crazy colours left behind.
From the mine we descend, feeling quite smug about finding a great-looking new road.
It looked like it headed right down to our house.
And then we find out that it’s a work in progress and yet to be completed. Cue half an hour of linking up ancient walking paths to reach the bottom section of road. When we arrived back home, we found out that Freddy, our landlord, is the chief engineer in charge of the building project! The road would’ve been finished, only the Caterpillar dug up some ancient ruins, which had to be removed by archaeologists before the work was able to continue.
Cass comes to town. We head to Yurac Yacu Cafe for some fine dining.
A delicious quinoa salad, jam-packed with fresh veg from the Lazy Dog Inn’s gardens.
While Out Climbing to Pitec.
Still climbing to Pitec, heading for Nevados Cashan and Shacsha.
The Three Surlys: LHT – Ogre – LHT.
Then a few days later Sunday comes round again: time for the food market in Jose Olaya – the only part of Huaraz to survive the 1970 earthquake. A chance to try out some traditional Inca fare. Some delicious, others (the rubbery tasteless intestines) not quite so.
A relative success: tasty chicken soup, adorned with a windsurfing sail.
We return on a back route to the town centre; coming across some agave graffiti in one of the poorer barrios en route.