Monday 28 May 2018

Day 33 To La Oroya. May 3rd 2018

May 3rd, 2018

Cold, icy morning leading to a very sunny, warm day

I knew it had been cold in the night but how cold I am surprised at. Ice is covering my tent! Peaking through the opened flap I can see frost covered grass and little else. There is thick fog outside. I curl up deeper into my sleeping bag.
Emerging an hour later, the fog has gone and there is a deep blue sky and sunshine. I wonder of the sky is a deeper blue at this altitude than at sea level? Packed and pushing, the road takes me through beautiful green valleys. Road workers are busy once more improving the surface. A large vehicle sprays the surface with water and two immense vehicles with metal rollers flatten it out. They are all so friendly as I pass.
Mile after mile has me mostly pushing the bike uphill. Herd after herd of Alpaca and Llamma are seen and then Vicunias, the beautiful, fragile smaller specie of Llama dominate. The males alert the rest of the family of my presence and they watch alert, calling a strange warbling sound as I pass.
A large lagoon greets me over one summit and on it there are a pair of Silvery Grebes. The occasional Thick-billed Miner scurries from off the road into the grass. The occasional raptor flies over; Black-breasted Buzzard eagle, Variable Hawk and American Kestrel. There is the occasional flock of Andean Geese. Another lagoon has White-tufted Grebes on it. Not masses of birds but enough to keep one looking.
Lunchtime and the unusual apparition of a smart-looking brand new bus stop shelter is well timed. I sit and munch and watch a hairy caterpillar attempt to climb one if it's walls. Dusty lorries pass and the expansive views of limestone layered hills, angled away from the perpendicular, and green grasslands are beautiful. It is a lovely day.
A long descent on a descent road, there are thousands of sheep corralled into a large barb wire surrounded field. The lack of vegetation in this makes one aware of how sheep over graze an area. The sheep look grey and skinny and all are searching for the merest morsel. On the other side of the road is a field with no sheep. The contrast is marked.
The road bends and ends with a junction onto a busy, expansive road of pure, smooth tarmac. I turn right and the next twenty two miles almost requires no pedalling. The road descends steeply through a stunningly beautiful gorge of white rocks and green grasslands. The road is a toll road but I am waved through the toll gate. No fee for me. There is a railway line all the way down the valley but no trains. How wonderful it would be to explore Peru by train.
The cliffs have layer upon layer of limestone angled to the sky, bent and eroded layers exposed to show earth works, millions of years of sediment now compacted and thousands of feet above any sea.
As the Sun disappears behind the hills I reach the city of La Oroya, a busy, noisy city with a huge factory complex at the south end of it that has an immense chimney belching out some disgusting stuff. I find a hostel. It has been a long day. After a walk around a few streets to get some food I sit on my bed with the intention of relaxing and eating. That doesn't happen. I fall asleep.

Green Year list : 184 birds average new birds to list per day : 5.58 birds

Distance walked : 36.40 miles

elevation : up 2,221 feet, down 3,381 feet

altitude : 12,500 feet

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