Monday, November 13, 2006

Santa Cruz Trek Day 2

Day 22

Morning! I had survived. Everything was cold, wet and the air felt very still. I pulled out my cooking gear, filled the pot up with water from lake, trying to avoid scooping up too many "bits", and set it off to boil, to make my noodles. Having put slightly too much water in the pot, and when boiling (higher altitudes therefore need to boil for longer to kill everything), water splashes out and into the burner. I soon realise that the piezo-electric ignition thing built into the burner doesn't work very well when wet. Mental note, take lighter next time I trek. Anyway, I don't particularly enjoy the noodles, but it's food.

Pack up tent, everything wet, and set off down my new route, which although not particularly easy, is certainly more accessible than the other side of the valley. I also almost detected evidence of a path at one point.

I should mention that in my efforts to shortcut this nightmare, I had worked out a way of skipping from this valley into the next, without descending back almost to start point. In the cold light of day, when I looked up at the ridge I would have to surmount, I realised this was not going to happen!

So down we go, via a small shortcut across a few rivers, one of which I could only cross by pulling off boots and socks and wading across. Up the next valley to Paria, a recommended camp site. I arrived there at about 1pm, normally too early to stop, however I was feeling sorry for myself, and as the sun had just broken out, I decided to cut my losses and bring out my tent to dry. A good 20 minutes of sun was enjoyed before clouds descended again, but I didn't mind, I was warm and in my tent, at [GPS: 08.95143S, 77.56259W]

Mid afternoon, suddenly someone pulled at the edge of my tent. "Hello, who is there?". More yanks.. "Oi!", I scrabble to unzip my tent to see what was going on. A cow had decided to try to eat my tent. I yelled at it, and it backed away. Back into tent, resume book. Yanks again!! Oiii! Out with my Leki sticks, and this time they move quickly away. This carried on for a few hours, and once one had learnt its lesson, another would have a go! How frustrating for me trying to relax! Luckily no teeth marks on the tent, not that I've noticed anyway! Mid-afternoon, another group camped at the other side of the site from me, but I wasn't feeling sociable (and wasn't dressed for it), so stayed in and carried on reading (Angels and Deamons by Dan Brown). A few groups passed by heading in the other direction, and I chatted to them. They warned that the following day would be horrible. I filled my camelbak from a nearby stream, iodined it up, and went to bed, planning an early start the next day. No alarm clock required as the bloody cows rarely shut up. It started to rain..

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