Monday, April 1, 2013

We Hiked The Andes!

This last Thursday and Friday we hiked up in the Andes! We went with Tia Techy, Her husband Javier  (ha-vi-are), nephews Bryan and Gielmar, Daddy, Myles, Clancy, and I.
 We started at Park Pairumani (view Happy Mobile blog) and hiked up a little way to where we rested a little while, while waiting for Javier who took a separate route to meet up with us so that he could save his 5 B's entrance fee (equivalent to 70 cents)! We gringos laughed at that! When he finally arrived we descended to the waterfall. The first part of the trip.
Some of the trail to the waterfall
 As you can see in the picture below everybody carried their rather heavy packs all the way up to Caspicancha, the small village where we stayed the night. Daddy's and my packs were definitely the heaviest of the group. Whew!

Once we were beyond the water fall we started walking up a very rocky riverbed. We missed the main trail that goes up to the village so we hiked up the river for most of the way! Talk about hard work! We ended up finding out that the trail that we would have taken is much more difficult to climb up than the river bed. All things work together for good, even though we complain!
Tia, Myles, Javier, and I
We stopped to rest and try chewing some Coca leaf and eat Snickers bars! Daddy did not like the Coca ( I think it was mostly because he did not like the idea of chewing something) but Myles, Javier, Bryan and I chewed it for most of the way up. It gives you lots of energy and helps with altitude sickness. I like it.
It started to rain so we all donned ponchos only to take them off in a few minutes! We joked that Myles looked like a hunchback with his on!
"Hunchback Myles!"
We hiked up the riverbed for about 2 1/2 hours, then we climbed up out of the riverbed for the last KILLER stretch to Caspicancha. That last part was Horrible! It was dark and we were tired. My pack began to feel like lead and I had a hard time keeping one foot in front of the other! Thankfully Bryan carried my pack for the last part (the only chivalrous thing he did the whole trip), but even then it was rough.
We finally arrived at Javier's uncle's hut where we were greeted very hospitably by the folks that live there. They let us sleep in their two huts that they have and gave us some blankets that they made from the wool of their own sheep. We played a couple games of spoons and then we all were soooo tired that we soon went to bed. Daddy and I slept in the hut where they keep all of their sheep hides! Thankfully they were not smelly!
Poor Tia Techy did not sleep a wink because she was so sore! She said that she hurt so bad that she wanted to yell, but she didn't because she knew that she would wake everybody up! Daddy and I slept okay, but apparently we were the only ones!
           Daddy got this beautiful picture of the sunrise when he went out to read his Bible.
The Heavens declare the Glory of God......
 The kitchen was only made out of rocks with a straw roof but it was very warm when we went in to eat breakfast. The Senora and Tia Techy made our coffee and Hot dogs over a open fire that was inside. The smoke went up over our heads and then out the door.

one of the kitchens in the village
They made the houses that we slept in out of bricks that were made of mud. The roof was made out of tin. They hauled the tin up the mountain with horses. They do not have running water or electricity, but they seem to be much happier than us rich folks in the states that have everything we could possibly need! It was amazing to watch the way that they did everything! It was like stepping back in time. We brought marshmallows with us and when we gave them to them to cook they just passed them around raw! They probably had never seen a marshmallow before!

With our Hosts
Here we are standing in front of the house and kitchen with Javier's Uncle and Aunt. His Uncle is holding their youngest boy. It was like pulling teeth to get his Aunt in the picture! Look at how nicely dressed she is!

The place where we stayed the night

  While we were eating breakfast Javier put about a quarter cup of sugar in his coffee, and I said "Man! Look at all that sugar he just put in his cup!" Then Myles and I talked about how strange it will be to go home and not talk about people behind their backs without them not understanding a word of what we are saying! I guess we will just have to speak Spanish! Watch out!
The Sheep Fold
     These people raise sheep and sell their wool for a living. This is one of their sheep folds.They go down to the city once a month to get supplies and sell the things that they make.

                                                     The Hike To The lake
After we ate our rather outlandish breakfast of hot hogs (The way they say hot dog is very funny! They say something like hood-og only fast) and SWEET coffee, we headed out to the lake.
We climbed up a ridge for about a 4 Kilometers (2 1/2 miles) then we hiked across a beautiful valley which was a nice break before hiking up the last steep slope to the lake.
It was very misty for most of the morning, and at one point when we were way up high, the fog came in all around and we could barely see 40 yards on front of us!
Climbing up the Rocky Ridge!
 In the picture of me below, look in the background and you will see that I am sitting on the edge of a cliff with the river that flows from the lake several hundred feet below me.
                      Javier, Tia, and Clancy stopped by this waterfall to take a break! I love Javier's hat!

 The three boys and I were always in the lead! The tall boy is Bryan and the short boy standing next to him is Gielmar.
Myles, Bryan and Gielmar leading the way!

Looking down on the River
              We continued on until we came to this beautiful valley with the river running through it. 

I love this picture of Javier and Clancy standing on a rock in front of the hut that a very famous man in Bolivia had his slaves make many many years ago. 

Whoo Hoo!
 The last stretch to the lake was very grueling and strenuous! The way that us kids took was straight up the mountain, but the adults and Clancy took a much longer but easier route! 
The Hard way!
 After about an hour of hard climbing we reached the lake. It was breathtakingly beautiful!
.....And the Firmament Showeth his handiwork!
When we arrived at the lake there were a bunch of boys standing below the dam. Clancy was still hiking up, and as he saw us he yelled, "Hello guys!" This prompted the young men to start practicing their VERY LIMITED English! They yelled "Good Morning! Hello!" So Bryan told me to say something to them in English. I said "You guys are just sitting there like a bunch of bumps on a log!" And they replied "Yesss!" Very Plainly! Myles and I cracked up! I thought you all would like that little story! It is truly amazing what God did when He confused the languages!
We all rested for a while after arriving!
Our Men!
This lake is not a natural lake. It was dammed by Simon Patino's slaves long ago. They carried the cement up there on their backs! We had trouble hiking up there without anything! Wow!
Myles standing on the dam
By this time we were at the very foot of Mount Tunari but we did not have enough time to hike for another three hours to the summit and then make it home before dark. Next time!
We decided to hike around the lake and then take a different route to Caspicancha.
Tia Techy and I
 We stopped at this river that flows into the lake to have a drink. Brrrr was it ever cold and delicious!
Oh Yeah!
                           Check out the mountain above us in the pic above! That is Tunari.
We took this picture of a Quechuan couple that were watching their sheep even though they got mad at us!

We hiked up and up until we felt like we were on top of the world and then we started back down a ridge that had drop offs on either side. Creepy!
Heading Down!
                                         We saw another Quechuan village on the way back.
Daddy and Javier styling each others hats!
                              Here are a couple videos of the descent and the Cochabamba valley.
Green Pastures!
 When we returned to Caspicancha our hostess had delicious Arroz Con Leche (rice with milk) ready for us. We sat outside enjoying the view sipping our food and eating mandarins! Yum!
                                    We enjoyed a very relaxed descent back to Park Pairumani!
Every year during the Easter weekend a lot of the people go to the surrounding mountains to camp out.
Enjoying the delightful sunshine!
                             Some of the people were jumping into the waterfall! It was very cold!

The three boys on the way back!
   Once we arrived at the park we all rested for a while on the grass! It never felt so good to sit down!!
Daddy and Tia were very sore for about a week, but us youngsters were back to normal within two days or so! Javier and Bryan never felt anything! Stinkers!
We are thankful that we got back safely and Mama was very glad to see us!


  1. What an adventure! Looks like you had a incredible time, the picture are stunning!
    You guys wearing the rain slickers look hilarious, and Emily, your story about the "bumps on the log" was very funny. It's nice to know you still have your sense of humor!


    1. Thanks for the Comment Lauren!
      I am so glad that you noticed that I still have my sense of humor! Hoping to use it a lot when you come down here! Look out!

  2. Emily, this was a great story! Thank you for all the time and effort you put into it. We are so blessed at how you and your family has embraced Bolivia, taken all the ups and downs in stride. You and your family have found many ways to give thanks to the Lord and all who read this are very blessed; I know I am. Thank you!

  3. Dear Emily,

    Grandpa B and I enjoyed your blog so much. Great job on the text and very interesting photos. Your fun and perky personality definitely shines through! How we miss you, and all the rest! It is very obvious that this was no easy trip, but you all made it fine, and ended with smiles! Such fun photos of Myles and Clancy and your dad and Javier. There are so many good photos that I couldn't say which are my favorites. I do love the one of Javier and Clancy in front of the slave-built hut. The story about the dam is fascinating. It's wonderful that you are learning so many new and interesting things. It really broadens your life's horizons.

    I am sure you are all looking forward to Grampa and Grams coming down soon. What a happy reunion that will be! I know they will have the time of their lives with you all.

    All my love,
    Grandma B

  4. Great post Emily! It is nice to hear different voices in the blog! Looks like it was an amazing experience. I love that you guys are making sure to experience everything you can down there! Enjoy the next few weeks while your grandparents are visiting!

    Denise :)