John Mahar's Blog

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Saturday, July 19, 2008


Jatun Machay means "big drunk" in Quechua. Or at least that´s what our dog-running-over-awful-techno-listening cab driver told us. Fredi seemed to take not a single precaution in our 2 hour drive up to this climbing area. He spent most of the time driving on the wrong side of the road, both on the way up and on the way down. There are lots of potholes, of course, but they don´t change sides of the road. Anyway, we found, at the turnoff from the main road, that Fredi had a flat tire. "The dog cursed us," he said. Perhaps so, but the spare tire, which was the baldest, fraying tire I have ever seen, did not pop on our way up the rocky dirt road to the refuge.

There we met Gordo, Kutu, and Cholo, the caretaker´s dogs. Cholo probably could have won a contest for biggest dog balls in the world. The puppies could have won cute contests.

We climbed for two days up there at 4300 meters or so. The place is a surreal city of rocks, probably a volcanic tuft of some sort. My geology skills are a bit rusty. A bunch of friends from Huaraz happened to come out and join Kevin, Chris, Wayne and I on the first day. That night we met some folks from Argentina and Chile. It was a bit of a flashback for me trying to understand Chileno, a particularly difficult to understand from of Spanish. They speak fast and cut off the ends of their words. You pretty much have to know what the subject of the conversation is in order to understand anything.

The next day the puppies joined us and we climbed with the Argentines and Chileans. Good times. Fredi picked us up and managed not to kill any dogs on the way down. He did, however, manage to kill our brain cells with his horrible mix of techno. "If I hear this song ever again it will be too soon," Chris said of one of the gems, a Cher-based remix asking if you believe in love after love. "That could go for just about all of them," Kevin replied. Wayne, smarter than the rest of us, had his ear plugs in.


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