This photo was taken at the very base of a VERY BIG trek up to the top of a Peruvian mountain in Huaraz to see a natural lagoon: Lake 69. As I wrote about at the time, we were totally unprepared for a high altitude trek, and it was inconceivably hard work. It took around 4 hours to get up there – not because the distance was craaaazy long, but because for most people in the group, every three steps required at least a 10 second pause to catch our breath. Needless to say I was a broken version of myself afterward. I think I actually crawled up the last 5 metre incline back to the van.
This was my first experience of actually trying to exert myself in high altitudes, and although I struggled more than I care to admit, everything we saw was just out-of-this-world beautiful. At the peak of our trek at 4,600 metres, after passing imposing ancient trees, cascading waterfalls and a helluva lot of llamas, the glacial lagoon was something out of a fairytale. An icy, altitude-sickness emphatic fairytale, but a fairytale nonetheless. Even though it nearly killed me, I’d (a little reluctantly) do it all again.