Huaraz-Conococha-Ticlios-Llaclla (hike ‘n bike)-Gorgolillo (hike ‘n bike)- Mangas-Poquian-Cajatambo-Mina Chanca-Oyon.
A brief missive from Oyon.
This past week, I’ve been riding with matchstick-thin, yet hard-as-nails Kurt Sandiforth. Kurt has been touring the world on dirt roads for years, quite apart from racing the likes of the Great Divide, the Colorado Trail and the AZT (all in one season, no less). Suffice to say that after 6 weeks off the saddle, it’s been something of a baptism of fire…
Internet connections being what they are, I can’t post more than a few pictures for now. Not that I’m too surprised that broadband has yet to reach this crumpled nook of the country. A dusty and windswept mining town, Oyon clings to the steep-sided slopes in what feels like the very guts of the Peruvian Andes. All around lies improbably rugged terrain: one folded, buckled range after another, bridged with valleys once roughly scoured by glaciers, and now tinged with minerals that have gold diggers ringing their hands with glee. It’s been relentless, yoyo-ing up and down the mountains, as much as two thousand metres at a time.
Despite the arrival of the raining season and its afternoon deluges, our spirits have yet to be dampened. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. These last few days have served to fuel further my love for the country and its dirt road touring potential. Ticlios, Llaclla, Mangas… a string of beautiful, welcoming, remote and high elevation villages linked by merest scraps of road and footpaths, painstakingly chiselled into the sheerest and most stark of mountain sides.
This is South American backcountry touring at it’s very finest. This is not the Gringo Trail…
More pictures to come, when I can jack into better internet…
There’s no internet in Cajatambo, but there is in Oyon. Fight with the kids to get a seat in a cramped booth.
As well as doubles with bathrooms, El Minero (by the football pitch) has more basic rooms – 25 Sol for 2. It also has the perk that you can use its reasonable wifi – the only place in town, from what we could see.