Tonight at Barranco it was extremely windy. I really thought the tent would fly off with me inside. Compared to last time the weather is really acting up now and this is no longer a nice walk in the sun but one in quite harsh conditions at times.
I spent most of the night awake, it was really warm inside the sleeping bag and listening to the nature unfold outside was an experience like no other I have had before. It reminded me also that this is a crazy and dangerous mountain and that I should have a lot of respect for everything that can happen. I also realized tonight that I need to master the art of peeing in a bottle as answering the call of nature in the middle of the night is a challenge on its own.
The day today started with my favourite part, the Barranco Wall. This consists of very light and easy scrambling and it is the only part of the route that it is not considered hiking. It is no technical climbing whatsoever and it is serious fun! The pace is very slow because the path is narrow and only one person can walk at a time, since everyone has different comfort zones when it comes to scrambling this can take time. For us it lasted a bit more than an hour.
After that we continued another couple of hours in relatively flat and easy terrain before descending to the Karanga Valley. Going downhill is not one of my strengths so at the end of this bit I got quite some pain in my knees. The Karanga Valley is crossed by a stream which is the last water point from now on. This means that all the drinking water has to be carried in jugs from here to the upper camps.
Here I realized how bad I must have felt last time since I had no memory at all of the trail between Barranco Wall and Karanga. I remember nothing, as if I had never been here, which is really scary.
The Karanga camp is extremely beautiful. At this altitude you normally are above the cloudline and you can really experience what is like to have the sea of clouds in front of you. Kind of like being on a plane but ten times more breathtaking.
There is so much more life here, it feels like all my senses have gotten ten times better at picking up things, the views, the sounds, how it smells like freedom in the morning…I can also notice my mental capacity getting reduced everyday, I have a really hard time focusing in more than one thing so I reach this deep levels of concentration that I have never experienced before. Today I even tried synchronizing my breathing with my pace and I realized how mystical I am becoming here, it must be the air, but it was a magical moment, everything seemed to disappear, it was just me, my breathing and my steps. Insane!
CONTINUE READING: Day 4: Barranco Huts (3986m) to Karanga Camp (4034 m).
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