I am not even going to pretend that visiting the Colca Canon and the oasis at its very lowest point ever seemed like a good idea. However, it was something that came highly recommended and something I really wanted to do.
The drive from Arequipa down into the Canon already was spectacular. At the beginning of the valley a lot of terrasses are still being used for agriculture. I passed through Yanque, where I met a nice guard that told me how the town came to switch canyonsides (the Spanish decided it would be easier to handle if Yanque lay on the opposite side and moved the town over).
A little further down the valley really turns into the canyon and makes for some spectacular views. At the very end of the Canyon is the town of Cabanaco where the canyon is the deepest. From there you can start on a trek going down to the bottom of the canyon where there is a small oasis.
It´s hard to go down, it´s even more insane to go back up. We spent 2h walking down enjoying the view. The walk back up was less enjoyable. The afternoon sun was killing me, it was hot and dusty and to make things worse, I kept being overtaken by locals that did the journey every day. All of them were very nice people, stopping for a chat and visibly concerned for my well being, which amounted in either a) them asking if they should organise a mule for me to ride back up on or b) them stopping along the way and waiting for me to catch up to them. Both options were somewhat annoying and I felt bad for the people waiting for me, as they surely would´ve made the journey up a LOT quicker if I hadn´t been there.
I did make it to the top in the end and roughly in the time I had expected as well! 😀 I must say though that this was the first and last time I try to gain 1.2km in height by foot. I´m not made for that shit and my knees aren´t made for it either…