DAY 662 - VOLCÁN TICSANI
Day 662 - Volcán Ticsani, Peru - 13670 km
While in Arequipa I wanted to climb one of the nearby volcanoes, but because of the wet season there would be too much melting snow on the top, which wouldn’t be without danger to climb them. Volcán Ticsani, a few hundred kms further, is a bit lower then Misti and Chachani. According to reports it was snow-free.
After a long day of cycling I reached the foot of the volcano which situated in an incredible sandy valley. It was snowing a little. The plan was to camp there and climb the volcano early in the morning, but I was out of water. During the entire day riding mostly on a freeway, there was nowhere I could buy water or find a stream to fill up my bottles. I tried the nearby laguna’s, but the water was dirty and green. Eventually I made way towards a small town in the valley, some 1400m lower. The next day I would return and repeat the plan, with water.
I was back early the next day to camp at ‘Hana’s House’, a sheltered place from the wind that Mark and Hana built when they passed by this place. I had plenty of time before sunset so reinforced the wall and made the floor space larger to fit my tent. I usually don’t spend that much time at camp, but it was really enjoyable. It was bright and sunny, with vast views over the desert and no soul in sight for the entire day, accept from a handful of cars that passed on the dirt road in the distance. It felt I was building a house on Mars.
I slept bad. Perhaps through the excitement and the high altitude of 4800m. I’d never spend a night that high. It’s not easy to fall asleep. The air is dry, which makes all the fluids in your head hard which could cause a bit of a headache. Some moments I’m breathing actively, just lying still. Usually I sleep on my belly, but now it’s almost impossible because it robs me from oxygen.
At 2am my alarm goes and at 3 I’m on my way. The majority of the trail I can do my bike. It’s fairly light because the tent and all my luggage stays in the ‘house’. There’s a half moon that lights my way. The stars are plenty. As I continue upwards the sand gets softer and the air thinner. There’s nothing else here but sand and rocks in one colour. Above 5000m snow lies on the side of the trail, from here I have to walk. Around the last bend there’s a heavy sulfur smell. Smoke curls up form the side of the mountain, but I’m not able to see the crater. It’s only a little more up. The horizon in the distance turns light blue. At the top is wooden cross and some empty liquor bottles. The wind cuts like a knife. 5408 meters, another altitude record.