Laguna 69 – Acclimating Hike Numero Dos – 15,100 ft
Journal Entry | 10-9-18
Today was magical. It was an early start this morning at 5:00am waiting outside our hostel to be picked up by the tour agency. We got last pick of seats, so we sat in the back. It was a roller coaster the entire 2 hour drive, but we enjoyed looking out the window watching such a foreign world zoom by.
On our way up the mountain we stopped in _____ . There was a small open house with a covered seating area. Here, we had 30 minutes to use the bathroom and pay for an optional breakfast. We paid $10 soles ($3) for 2 coffees, 2 glasses of fresh squeezed papaya juice, a fried egg each and homemade bread. It was an amazing meal with large white peaks blinding in the background.
The last stretch of the drive took us up to 12,000ft where we would begin our 8 mile trek up to Laguna 69. Everyone was instructed to go their own pace and meet back at the bus by 3:30pm. The trail was absolutely stunning! Thick jungle like trees, milky glacier streams and the views themselves were gigantic. We were surrounded by glaciers and 20,000ft peaks! I’ve never seen mountains so big. At 14,500ft, we realized we were the highest we’d ever been. My lungs and stomach felt shriveled but my head felt great and my heart rate was stable.
Approaching the top, the bright snowy peaks were literally blinding. Our steps were slow as we approached 15,000ft. We were speechless at the top. We started laughing out of exhaustion and thrill. The water was the brightest turquoise I have ever seen. There were multiple waterfalls cascading down from glaciers above. We spent 1.5 hours at the top in awe.
Hiking down we were both thankful to be feeling well and acclimated. Multiple people did not make it to the top and were struggling to make it back in time to the bus.
I thought I would fall asleep on the bus ride home, but that would have been nearly impossible. Jake and I were both airborne multiple times as the bus was driving 50 kph on a narrow, winding, gravel road down the mountain. At one point we were turning a sharp corner and the side of the bus nearly kissed the ground. I could have opened the window and walked out haha As crazy as it sounds, I enjoyed every second of it. I spent the entire ride gazing out my window watching Peruvian farmers walk their sheep and tend to their crops with babies wrapped up on their backs.