El fin.

14 days and so many miles. Happy to see a break from the pedaling. But will be sorry to end this chapter of the trip. Next up for us is some sedentary Beach life. Maybe we will learn how to surf. I’ll still post some pictures but less frequently. Coming home June 15th.

parking the bikes at the new accommodations.huanchaco.peru

Day 14. June 3.

after a night in Santa Ana ‘s only hotel. Several mosquito bites and pillow less accomodations. We bolted early and started pedaling for the coast.

flat farm lands. The final stretch
river crossing in the ag district
yes. The ocean, finally!
?what…? Alpacas
pollos too

Day 13. June 2. Will we make it to the ocean!!!??

the climbing is brutal but the road is good. The high pass comes at about 10am.

High voltage line, vaca. Y Tyler

back at 4700 meter sobre el Nivel del mar. Wow. Does this mean we have 15000ft of downhill riding over 65 km to the sea board. Chimbote, here we come!

Keep going down down down
still up high in the arid mountains
moving down fast now. Vegetation, cows, horses

but in the end we couldn’t make to the ocean in one day. We held up in a small town called Santa Ana. With so so nights sleep well try to finish this trip tomorrow.

Day 12. June 1.

one night in Caraz. On the rio santa. We could follow the river on a main highway but instead we opt for a marginal road that goes through the foothills climbing passes and following ridge lines for about 80km.

Santo toribio. Last town and lunch before the climb begins.

The route we picked climbs a whooping 9,000ft from the valley floor.

chocho and ceviche for lunch
Camp. 1,500 more feet of climbing to the pass.

9grand in one day! Didn’t happen. Great camp spot, final good bye to the high mountains.

Day 11. May 31.

today we have a huge amount of elevation drop mostly on trails of varying quality. Next town we’re going to get to tonight is at 7,000 ft.

just after we break camp in the morning
Tyler looking stoic.

we have to push our bike for miles. Because the big rocks and the steep terrain doesn’t let us ride until we get about halfway down the trail.

finally riding a bit. Cute bridge.
beautiful views down valley. We still have miles and miles to go.
that narrow slot was the canyon we exited. Now we’re out in the farm fields and back on roads.

Just a few miles of downhill riding and we arrive in the city of Caraz. That brings our trail riding in Peru to an end. Tomorrow will start another biking segment but all dirt roads. We actually have three good options to go from where we are now to the coast. One reasonable, one hard, one extremely hard. That choice will be made very soon, stay tuned! Any guesses…?

Day 10.May 30.

so are big day begins 6:30 in the morning. Big breakfast in town at the first restaurant that opens. We have about 12 miles of road biking before we get to the trail. 10:00 a.m. in the morning we passed the last small village Huaripampa. Then the killer day on the Santa Cruz trail begins.

if you’re not bike packing, this is what you can expect life to look like in Huaripampa.

After the last town the trail climbs to an incredible 15,000 ft. Tipping out at Punto Union.

when the meadow looks so enticing but you find out it’s full of swamp sucking mud… good flutter kick Tyler.

the final climb to punto Union was unbelievable. My cell battery went dead and photo evidence is non-existent. But just 40 minutes before nightfall we ascended this 300 ft Stone staircase that was likely hundreds of years old. We drug our bikes up we cross the pass and we drug our bikes down just fast enough to get our tent set up before or the rain and the darkness went crazy.

Dry and inside

Day 9. Rest.

Yanama a nice little mountain town with plenty of views. A great place to hold up and let our legs recover. Tomorrow we have a 45 km trail ride that will take us from the east side of the high Andes to the west side. We’ll go over a pass known as Punto union. On a very famous trekking trail called Santa Cruz!

from the Bell Tower.
the bell tower
In Yanama we observed a major shift to Spanish style tile roofs. Pretty but I prefer thatched.

Day 8. Chacas to Yanama. May 28.

Best lunch in Peru. Sapcha.

today was about 30 miles bike riding on good gravel roads. And maybe about 4,000 ft of climbing. After all these days that’s feeling like a light day. Arriving in the small mountain town of Yanama with plenty of light and time to get a hotel. And check out the views!!!

the final descent into town
views from the hotel. Can you see those snowy peaks, that’s where we go next. By trail of course.

Day 7. May 27.

After leaving the last town yesterday afternoon, we motored (biked!) up the switchbacks to Laguna Purhuay. This is the start of our trail and the start National Park Huascaran. Five mile of very steep and rough trail got us up high and to a great campsite. Now just 16 mile more.

foggy morning we break camp and search for the next great trail!

surprise surprise the trail did not live up our anonymous internet poster’s exuberance. This turned out to be the hardest section of the trip so far. What we thought was going to be smooth sailing and Good biking turned into completely abandoned trail of grapefruit size rocks, ankle deep swamp, and unbelievably straight and eroded trail to the pass of nearly 16,000ft. If even for a minute I thought I was getting myself into shape, this trail told me otherwise.

all abandoned homes n the sector of the park.

when we finally did Crest the summit. Were we rewarded with wonderful smooth single track biking trail…? No! We did strenuous hike a bike down almost the whole thing the last quarter or 5 miles held a glimmer. We finally found some well loved and maintained Park trails. Lot of work for a short stretch of Good biking. And the icing on the cake for some reason three very impressive Gates blocked our exit from the National Park. The final hurdle and the final gate! We finished up pretty much in the dark. Through the skin of our teeth we made it to Chacas and a nice hotel that evening.

finally, great biking but interrupted by some seriously hard to overcome prison Gates! Even Tyler couldn’t crack this one open.
aha, so it was a park after all

Day 6, part ii.

Tyler Smallwood put together this crazy ensemble of a track we’re doing our best to follow. It was loosely based on a few trip reports he found on line. Then a bunch of map scanning and satellite imagery scanning. So far it’s been pretty top-notch. Of course the trails have been hard going 70 to 80% of them push the bikes. But when we get a nice downhill trail ride it’s pretty rewarding. And if you’re going to travel close to the real mountains like we are, you have to expect some rugged trail conditions. One stretch in The Cordillera Huayhuash in fact was so rugged they wouldn’t take the mules over it. Tyler and I managed to be the mules for our bicycles on that pass.

Acopalca final town before next wilderness trail experience. Oh, stair climb too. Tyler hoofing it.

road riding in Peru is fun. A lot of the roads are in good gravel condition. They don’t have an overwhelming amount of traffic. And the traffic we do see is actually quite respectful. And Peru is not known for a relaxed driving culture. Nonetheless this afternoon we’re ditching towns and tarmac. We’re heading off on a 22 mi trail route that Tyler discovered via a vague trail report. Should be interesting stay tuned…

Few, just made it in the nick of light