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Caraz 25.10.15

October 28, 2015

Caraz. Peru 25.10.15

The Rio Santa starts its life in the high country Lago Conochoca and firstly meanders through magnificent high tussock plains before starting its more turbulent passage beween the twin cordilleras Negra on its wester side and Blanco on its east. The villages the river passes through run into each other: Huarez, the main city, then Anta, Cuaraz, Yungay and Caraz where we have been the last couple of days. But theirs have been a turbulent history of devastation caused by the glaciers and turquoise coloured lakes sitting high on the slopes of Cordillera Blanco. The lakes are formed from the melting glaciers and the rocky moraine the glaciers bring down with them The moraine forms a dam, the lake fills up then at some stage the pressure on the dam wall is too great and the whole lot gives way sending thousands of tonnes of water and mud rushing down the mountainside at up to 160 kph destroying everything in its path
Called aluviones, in 1941 one wiped out a third of Huarez killing more than 5000 people. In 1970 an earthquake sent an avalanche into the lake above Yungay. The dam wall broke sending a 10 metre wall of mud and water into the town wiping out the whole population apart from school children away on an excursion and a group of townspeople who made it to the cemetery set on a higher hill. Even Caraz, where we are at present hasn’t been immune to the mudslides in the past.
But it is a beautiful area. The villages sitting on the valley floor but meandering up the lower slopes of the mountains on either side. The mountain above us is reputed to be the most beautiful inn the world. It is the moutain you see whenever a Metro Goldwyn Mayer (I think it is) film is being shown.
It wasn’t our intention to head back inland but there is an unpleasant cloud bank that comes in off the Pacific Ocean blanketing the coastline and many kilometres inland for most of the day. In Lima it is made worse with the smog that leaves a black film over everything. Even at Medio Mundo it was there for most of the day. We climbed up to 4100 metres before hitting the high plateau, a most beautiful area with the snow bound Cordillera Blanco not far to the east.
Speed humps are the curse of anyone driving in either Bolivia or Peru. Bolivia was the worst as there was never any warning. Rarely were stripes painted on them and even the smallest of villages would have them. And if you didn’t see them both you and the vehicle would suffer. In Peru there are usually warning signs but not always. Going throough Huareez yesterday I didn’t see a nasty one and everything went all over the place in the back A mug flew out of the sink and landed on a pawpaw over a metre away and another mug was cracked with the jolt. In some cities of Bolivia they even had speed humps either siide of traffic lights. I thought the intention of traffic lights was to keep the people moving once they turned green but not over here. It is so easy to cause damage to the vehicle when you hit one
So it’s a AU/NZ final in the rugby world cup. We will have to make sure we are near a TV showing it next weekend.

88kms north of Caraz.26.10.15.
A very interesting day’s drivinng today. Not long after leaving Caraz the road entered the Canyo del Pato. A bit hair raising actuallly as the caanyon was exceedingly narrow for much of the way,, sommetimes less the 30 metres with the road clinging to the western side. Thee Rio anta at this point is a turbulent rushing cauldron. The were 35 tunnels in the cannyon itself, all just hewn rockk with no lighting, or reflectors on the side. Some did have white lines on the side that was a help. Most off the road had the overhanging rock above us as a type of canopy. After the canyon the valley was still narrow, the road reverted to bad gravel and another 12 tuunnels were encouuntered. It was a hard day’s driving and here we are, once more on the edge of the Rio Santa, the same river we picnicked alongsiide three days ago. Sheltered fro the road it is qquite an ideaal spot. Tomorrow we head to the coast and TrujilloInternet connections are so frustratingly bad around here. At last Caraz had a free connection in the main plaza but it was quite weak and not good enogh for me to upload the three posts I have managed to write.

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