Huaraz is a town situated north east of Lima at an altitude of 3,052m. With Katy and Dale arriving straight from Australia, and Greg and I being at sea level for the past month, we needed to slowly acclimatise to the altitude here in Huaraz in preparation for some of the day hikes we’d be doing.
Some of the hikes we’d planned can get up to 4,600m above sea level – definitely potential altitude-sickness elevations.
We received some great advice from the hostel staff about a hike we could do that was only an hour out of Huaraz. As there were 4 of us and this particular walk didn’t require a park entry pass, he suggested we pay for a taxi to take us out, wait for us, and drive us back. For s./120 (about AU $48 in total) it was a bargain really. The bonus was that as this hike is not accessible by public transport and no tour groups go here, we’d pretty much have the trail to ourselves. And that is how we ended up hiking to Laguna Shallap.
The walk to the lake was stunning from start to finish. We walked through a lush green valley that was once a glacier. On either side of us were huge granite cliffs with soft-edged rocks that had been sheered and polished by the ice that came down back then. There was a river running through the middle of the valley and plenty of cows grazing in the pastures.
9kms in and we arrived at Laguna Shallap, a green lagoon at an altitude of 4,250m above sea level. We enjoyed our lunch here and a photo shoot, before making the 9km return trip, which luckily was a relatively flat return hike as by the end we were all pretty exhausted.
All in all it was a long day, but a great acclimatisation hike preparing us for the next few days of higher altitude hiking.