6/26/2011: Copacabana to Tarija

I slept straight through the night for the first time.

I was thinking that when I was putting on my sun screen, I felt like a Maori warrior, putting on war paint. It was sort of thick and white, and it only gradually faded into colorlessness. Similarly, it was to become my daily ritual before going out to face my nemesisóthe sun.

As we left Copacabana, I saw a small church nestled in a small churchyard. The interesting aspect was that almost the entire churchyard surrounding the church was a graveyard! I guess the church didnít have much land, and so they had to put the graves wherever there was space.

Near the ferry, we stopped for a bathroom break. When we finished our business and returned to the street, the bus was gone! Then we walked around the corner and found that we were basically at the ferry landing. The bus was already being loaded onto its boat/barge. As a result, however, I didnít have my camera. So I couldnít get a picture of a person in a Donald Duck suit at the entrance to the dock.

In one small town we saw a parade going down the main road. We had to stop and let them pass. We thought it was for a religious holiday, maybe Saint Peter, but weíre not sure. Since we were stopped, a number of us got out and took pictures of the parade from different angles. Later on we ran across a smaller parade, but we were able to pass them slowly, so we didnít need to stop and wait for them.

†Then we stopped at the house of a reed boat builder on the shore of Titicaca. He was the designer for (I think) the Ra II for Thor Heyerdahl and several other similar boats. He was 77 years old, and he was going to Norway in August to consult on another boat.

We dropped Teo (the cultural guide) off then turned off onto a dirt road into the trail head. We had to drive really slowly through some stream beds that had washed out parts of the road. We probably drove for an hour or so, passing small ďvillagesĒ and herds of animals on the way to the trail head. We didnít hike up the road because we were late due to spending too much time with the boat builder and perhaps due to the parade.

At the end of the road, we had lunch and shuffled stuff into the duffles. Then we hiked up to base camp. During the hike, I just wore my two tee shirts. The hike in was wonderful. We were camped on a little flat area next to a lake, surrounded by several snow capped peaks that reminded me of the Cascades, except that we were already higher than Rainier. I wrote: So far things here look great. At the same time it is not at all like I imagined, and it is better than I hoped.

Similar to the previous accommodations, Chris and I both got our own 2-person tent, and everyone else was paired up into 3-person tents.

When I was unpacking, I got good news and bad news. I *had* packed my parka (I was later wearing it as I wrote my diary). The bad news was that I hadnít packed my rain pants. It was the rain pants that I had remembered putting into the bag to stay behind.

Due to the late start at the trail head, dinner was late.

After dinner, as I finished writing up my diary, I found that I was having trouble trying to keep my pen from apparently freezing (or at least getting too cold to write). I found that I had to keep it inside my down jacket when I wasnít writing with it, so that it would be warm enough to work. I came to the realization (not for the first time, and probably not for the last) that camping in below-freezing temperatures is not my favorite.

I ended the dayís diary entry with:

So far, I really enjoyed today. Iím warm enough now, and I was fine in the hike in. The stars are wonderful out, although I donít think I can get a picture. So my only concerns are the lack of rain pants and the ridge of Huayna.

Up to Bolivia main page

Back to June 25: Copacabana (Isla del Sol)

Forward to June 27: Tarija 1