We woke up early to be picked up for the tour at 5am and, after a long drive and some breakfast, this is where we started our day’s hiking. Laguna 69 is just one of more than 400 lakes in the Huascarán National Park and is some 4,600m above sea level (Huaraz is about 3,000m). This ‘UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve’ gets its name from Huascarán, Peru’s tallest mountain. You can see why the mountaineers flock to this rugged part of the world!
I’d been at these kinds of altitudes without any issues before but I wasn’t coping well this time – maybe I was jet-lagged and down on sleep as well. The bad thing is, I didn’t think it was altitude sickness at the time, I thought I was just tired from the plane journey or catching a cold. So, I pushed myself to get to the top as quick as I could – just a little bit of altitude training to continue my rehab for my knee, right? Big mistake. I was fine on the way up but felt dreadful as I sat and waited for my friend at the top. The trek back was really tough and I basically passed out when I got into the bus.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to do the lake justice with my little Ricoh, but how could I not at least try?
On the way down, I got someone to take a photo of me. Bucket hat fail.