July 6, 2007
Condoriri Climb Day 4
I finally got to sleep all night last night. For once I had a real breakfast, too. After eating only stale bread for breakfast the last two days, my bowl of instant porridge felt like a meal fit for a king. My tent was covered with frost from the freezing high altitude air, but before I had time to dry it out, our donkeys arrived and it was time to leave.
Once again, I walked past the dam and reservoir, curving around a landscape sprinkled with mountains. The walk back seemed to take an instant now that my body had become accustomed to much higher altitudes and I didn't have to carry anything but my camera.
Back in Tuni, we had to wait forever for our taxi to show up. I was mad that we had to leave high camp so early, only to wait for over an hour for our taxi. When we finally left Tuni, the driver must have sensed that it was getting late. The long gravel road took an hour, but as soon as we hit pavement, we covered a larger distance in five minutes. I'm not sure how fast we were going because the speedometer wasn't working, as per the usual Bolivian specs, but we were flying around other cars and buses so quickly it felt like Ludicrous Speed compared to our gravel road travel.
When we got back to El Alto, it was a complete mess. I thought an earthquake had struck, but it turned out that the road was just under heavy construction, and there was no clearly-marked detour to take. We searched around the wreckage for half an hour before finding a small path leading into a drainage canal and back up to a passable road on the other side. Other cars all around us were also frantically searching for a similar route.
Eventually we made it back down to La Paz. I dropped off all of my rented gear and said goodbye to Teo and Pedro. I could finally catch up on sleep in a real bed and take a couple days to relax. Climbing mountains in Bolivia has been an amazing experience, but now I'm worn out and need to take a few days off.
The photo album for this entry is here.