I can’t say I’m in the best shape of my life right now, but I thought I was at least in decent condition. Boy did I quickly prove that assumption wrong here in Huaraz, Peru, where I have just returned from a day hike to the gorgeous Laguna 69. The lake sits at around 4600m above sea level (15000ft) and is reached via a 3 hour hike with an elevation gain of 800m. Most of which is climbed in two very short, steep sections.
To be honest, the only time my lungs, head and body have hurt worst was a similar climb in Guatemala (You can read more about that here). By the time I reached the top, my head was getting pretty fluffy and I was having to stop every 20 steps to catch my breath.
But as I came around the last bend in the hill and saw the sapphire lake ahead, with the snow white peaks rising behind it, I couldn’t help but think it was worth it. The view was absolutely stunning, almost enough for me to forget the spinning in my head and the burning in my chest.
It was also enough to convince me to embark on another hike tomorrow – this time for 3 to 4 days, camping at altitudes of between 3500 and 4000m. It should be interesting. And if you never hear from me again, well, at least you know what happened?