Every morning, the porters send us off with what they call a "warm up" song. We don our day packs, and they break down the camp, catching up with us and passing with all of our stuff piled on them. Tents, chairs, food, duffles, etc.
Today is no exception, we are just starting up the Barranca Wall, and our porters and others are streaming past. It's amazing to watch. Climbing the wall is like bouldering - or at least what I imagine bouldering is as I've never done it. There are hand and footholds, not difficult but it's definitely a scramble.
At one point, our guide tells me I am at the kissing wall, named because hikers must press tightly against it in a giant hug so close lips could easily brush the rock. At an especially sharp slant of rock, I hesitate and am told to "trust your boots."
A brief rest at the top of the wall, then a steady descent. I am getting better at them with all of this practice. The greatest challenge is our last downhill of the day. If there were water, I believe we would have been picking our way down a water fall it's that steep, some parts slippery with algae.
Everlastings, small daisy like flowers dot the slopes in white clumps. We have also seen Lobelia (giant herbs) and Senecios which look like stunted palm trees. Each branch takes 25 years to grow. Our guide estimates one Senecio is 150 years old.
Camp used to be in the valley, but the toilets fouled the stream so it has been moved uphill, and we continue pole pole to Karranga Valley camp (13,100 feet). The camp is on a slope, the toilet open on one side for a sweeping view of the valley below. The weather continues to be spectacular - clear skies.
Hot lunch is soup, french fries and pineapple. Dinner - beef stew, rice and soup.
My quads are sore.
I am imagining my next vacation at a spa hotel with daily massages, hot water that sprays from multiple nozzles in the shower and a huge poufy bed I can lie in and be warm all day.