Today was a VERY difficult day! Last day of the Colca Canyon trek and definitely the hardest. Did I mention before that the Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world and twice as deep as the Grand Canyon? However, as Kelsey pointed out, it doesn’t really “look” like the Grand Canyon (not that I would know since I haven’t been there, but I have seen pictures…). There are no real cliffs where you just look straight down into the canyon here – it’s more like very deep valleys.
Anyway, the hike today was uphill for over 3 hours to get out of the canyon. We started at 5:00 a.m. to avoid some of the heat and sun, but it was still quite warm and still very difficult. It didn’t help that we didn’t really get a good breakfast before starting. I had a leftover granola bar and Maria had apples for us, but that was it as we were supposed to have breakfast at Cabanaconde after we hiked out of the canyon. Maria and Kelsey were going at a pace that I just couldn’t keep up with (despite telling them this several times) so after a while I just have up on trying to keep up with them and went at my own pace. I felt kind of lightheaded the whole way and it literally took every ounce of energy I had at some points to even put one foot in front of the other.
After the hike up to Cabanaconde, we had breakfast there before taking the 10:00 a.m. bus to Chivay. That was a 2 and a half hour ride along the same incredibly bumpy, steep and narrow roads we travelled a couple days ago! Not for the faint of heart! In Chivay, I got lunch at a nice buffet and then we got in a tourist van with other day-trippers again at 1:30 to head back to Arequipa. We got back to our hotel around 5:30 and showered up before getting dinner at Los Lenos down the street. Los Lenos was a pizza place recommended by my guidebook. Wood-fired pizzas and freshly squeezed lemonade. Pretty good!