We were visiting Peru at the start of the rainy season which meant that more often than not the mountains were blanketed in clouds and fog. There is nothing more frustrating than looking up at what you know is one of the most majestic mountain ranges in the world and only being able to see brief glimpses of the peaks through the clouds.
The day we headed into Huascaran National Park we had a blue sky for the first time in days, and spent the majority of our time just staring up into some fairly jaw dropping landscape as we drove around Llanganuco Lake with Brian and Michelle.
We decided that since we had sun we should tackle a hike I read about to Laguna 69. This was a bit spontaneous since I was just over my food poisoning and did not research how long it was, I just hated to let a nice day go to waste. Brian and Michelle continued on and we said our goodbyes after a week together.
Sam and I took off on the hike we thought would be an hour or two (wishful thinking??) without eating breakfast and with only two granola bars, three oranges and a liter of water and we forgot our SteriPen. The hike ended up being around six hours and went from 12,000 to over 15,000 feet and was around 13 miles of hard hiking. At one point on the final round of switch backs over the 15,000 foot pass, I begged Sam to put me out of my misery or drag me up the final few switch backs to the lake.
Sam cheered me up and cheered me on and I made it to one of the bluest glacier lakes I have ever seen. Even though I was not feeling my best, the hike was worth every excruciating second and I highly recommend it, just not the day after serious food poisoning….
This hike and many others we took in this mountain range was stunning and some of the best mountain scenery we have seen yet. My only advice is to take the altitude seriously and drink a ton of water. We crossed a few hikers who were not prepared for high altitude hiking and were seriously ill. Not great at 14,000 feet in Peru 10 miles into a challenging trek! We came across a couple from Brazil where the woman was very sick and we had to hurry up on our way back to notify the driver waiting for them that she might need assistance.
The hike to Laguna 69 is one of our favorite hikes of the trip and if the weather permits, I would highly recommend it.