Day 22 – Ishinca Valley

We set off from Caroline’s to the collectivo station, making sure to pick up some empanadas on the way for breakfast. The hike in towards the Ishinca Valley starts at Pashpa, but we couldn’t find a collectivo headed there. Instead, we caught a collectivo headed to Tarica, S2 ($0.67), and would look for a taxi once there.

A note on bags on collectivos. Some collectivos have roof racks, plenty big enough for expedition-sized packs. However, some don’t, so it can be a pain trying to transport packs. When we went to the Llanganuco Valley, our packs took up a seat, so we were charged an additional fare. On the collectivo to Tarica the driver tried to charge us for the bags, but I made sure that they didn’t take up a seat so we wouldn’t be charged. This made the driver a bit mad. Everyone else on the collectivo (Ketchua/Peruvian women) seemed to be on our side and said that bags shouldn’t cost extra.

The collectivo pulled over just after a road marked to the Ishinca Valley. The door-boy opened the door and said that this was our stop. But all at once all the Peruvian women began shouting at the driver. It took me a few seconds to realize that the women were shouting at the driver that this was not the right stop for us and that he should take us all the way to Tarica. Indeed, we were able to catch a taxi from Tarica, but we would have had to walk for hours extra if we had just been let off at the start of the road to the Ishinca Valley.

In Tarica a taxi was agreed upon for S20 to Pashpa. Like normal, it was a windy dirt road that climbed significantly in elevation. I made sure to check the GPS to see that the driver was actually driving us all the way to Pashpa. There is another small town called Collon before Pashpa, but getting off there would have added an extra 45 minutes of walking with our big packs. It turns out that the actual spot where people get off for the Ishinca Valley is even past Pashpa, called Laguna Cochopampa. Getting off there would have save an addition 45 minutes of walking.

I spoke to an arriero (donkey driver) for the first hour or two of the hike. He was following the same trail back to his farm. Once within sight of his farm, he remarked proudly that we could see his donkeys and bull.

Total time from Pashpa to base camp was about six hours. There were quite a few people on the trail and at one point there was a hold up because a donkeyhad fallen/gone off the trail. Camp set up, dinner made, and we were off to bed, ready for a 4am wake-up.

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