Camping in The Andes

Today I woke up in Riobamba and was starting my first day since I had received my new running shoes etc. There was nothing holding my back and a nice long 1800km to Lima ahead. Obviously there are always obstacles and today was no exception. I had to make a choice and to do that I need to call on my trusty support back at home. My father produced to altitude maps indicating the differences between two possible routes. One was longer and more up and down but didn’t go up as high. The other was a climb to 3870m and then a long descent. It was also a little shorter. I chose the later and set off.

I always find the running hard after a couple of days rest and today was no exception. The body resisted and I kept pushing. The first 22km took a long time and was hard work but after a quick stop for lunch (cheese and ham sandwich) I was rearing to go and start the main ascent.

The road was nice and gentle is but consistently going up. The views were amazing but could have been so much nicer if the weather was better.

Three incidents happened on route. Firstly I met a Canadian couple I have been following on Instagram who are driving to the south of Argentina. Lovely people and nice to meet people with a similar adventure. Secondly I found a restaurant cooking guinea pigs and managed to get a good video. This will be added to the site soon. And thirdly I got into a barney with some locals who demanded money because I took a picture of their donkey… Not happy!

The climb finally came to an end and i was filled with euphoric elation. Lots of jumping around, fist pumping etc. All very embarrassing but this summit had significance – it marked the end of my first stint in the Andes. From now till southern Peru I will be back to the lowland. Don’t get me wrong I have loved the Andes but the body is looking forward to some more gentle, flatter ground – especially my knees!

As this was my last night I decided to stop at about 40k and set up camp on the side of the road. Hopefully no one will mind and no one will come and bother me. It’s nice to be camping again and I am so glad I have my Force Ten Nano -5 sleeping bad to keep me warm cause it is cold as hell and raining.

Please excuse any typos etc. Taping away on phone with dying battery. Time to plug in to my Power Gorilla!!!!

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