The Cordillera Blanca is the highest mountain range outside of the Himalayas. There are 16 peaks over 6000 meters including Peru’s highest, the mighty Hauscaràn. Seeing as we like to hit the trail as often as possible we had looked forward to this section of the trip for as long as we can remember. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case the stars were not in line. Not only did we find ourselves in a bit of a time crunch but also an injured knee since Colombia made any multi-day trek a risky undertaking. However, we could not resist getting a small taste. We left our van at the trailhead while we hiked in to Laguna 69 to spend one night in our tent. Our feelings of regret caused by missing out on what most likely would have been our trek of choice, the famed Santa Cruz trek, were lessened when we met a fellow hiker just on his way back from the end of the circuit. He told us that although the Santa Cruz trek was gorgeous in every right, his favorite section of the entire park was Laguna 69. At least our small sample turned out to be the right one.
Baja is the kind of place where time just slips away from you. We originally intended to spend a bit more than a week here but it’s been nearly 16 days and we still find ourselves hesitant to move on. We have driven from the north to the southernmost point, bouncing along both coasts on the way down. We have slept on the beaches of both shores and in the meadows of the towering Sierra de las Lagunas. We have strolled malecons at sunset and sipped margaritas beneath many a palapa. Despite all we’ve done, there is a sense that we’ve barely scratched the surface. One thing is for sure – Baja California has it all.
When Jill and I began this trip we had not done a whole lot of backpacking. However, during the trip we’ve made a strong push to spend as much time on the trail as possible, and as such have picked up a few things. So, if you’re anywhere near where we were when we began, and have interest in playing around outside, maybe the next few posts will help you get started.
Once we left Vancouver we dropped straight down the Washington Coast to Whidbey Island. From there we hopped across to the Olympic Peninsula via a night time ferry ride. Pretty cool being on a boat that big at night, however not being able to see the horizon doesn’t help with the sea sickness.
Among the laundry list of places we intended to see during our tour of the US, Glacier National Park was at the top. We had lofty expectations for our time in the park, not only because of the stories shared by family and friends who had visited, but because Glacier is one of the most highly coveted backpacking playgrounds in the US.
During our stay in the Tetons we felt a growing itch to get back on the road. We departed towards Stanley, Idaho in the Sawtooth mountain range with a two day three night back packing trip planned that we had found in one of our Backpacker magazines.