Hiking in Peru
What: Santa Cruz Trek in Northern Peru in the Cordillera Blanca. It’s a 3N/4D Trek that includes one high altitude pass at 15,584ft.
When: May to Mid September
How: The trek can be done alone, or with a local guiding company.
Our Favorite Detailed Guide: Clever Hiker
Framing this Experience: This was my first multi-day trek ever, and it was an amazing experience. I was traveling by myself in Northern Peru, and decided to do the hike with a local guiding company (I used Wildland). At this point, I was pretty comfortable with traveling on my own and meeting people, so the group aspect didn’t feel like a risk. What turned out to be a big risk was the actual physical endeavor. I only acclimated for one day in Haurez (I definitely recommend at least 2), and climbing the 4,750m was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. My legs felt like cement, my head was ringing, and all I could manage was one foot in front of the other. I look back at getting over that pass often, remembering the pain of each step as other hikers and donkeys passed me. Uphill climbs don’t feel good- whether literal and figurative, and this uphill felt especially bad as my body shut down due to altitude. The altitude was a risk I didn’t understand until it was too late. What did I learn? My self-awareness increased as I was completely humbled by the mountain, and the fact that I was the slowest in my group (I used to pride myself in being incredibly fit- turns out that doesn’t translate across all physical pursuits). The “one step at a time” mantra I repeated to myself also sticks with me, and rings through my head when I see the photo of myself smiling at the top. - Jeanette