We hopped the bus to the Cruz del Condor viewpoint and passed through more idyllically situated Andean towns. Beautiful scenery and stepped terraces in every direction – plenty to keep us occupied while the bus broke down and we waited on the side of the road.
The farther we went, the deeper the canyon – the world’s deepest. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the U.S.
While we were in the deepest canyon in the world, why not stop and admire the world’s largest flying bird? The Andean condor can have a wingspan up to 10 ft. I’m not sure we saw any that large, but they were big.
I was a little surprised they even showed up since this is clearly a popular tourist stop crowded with people from every corner of the world. Apparently, they don’t mind people.
After some lingering, we hopped on the next bus to Cabanaconde, where we started our hike. All the way down to the bottom.
We were told 3 hours was a good pace, and even with three kids we nailed it. Bode was a champ and hiked all the way down. We’re not sure of the distance, but it was a 4000 ft vertical descent. Being able to see a swimming pool at the bottom was good motivation to keep him going, while the other kids were carried down.
At the bottom of the canyon are a string of remote Andean villages that are a trekker’s dream. We stopped at the first – Sangalle – which is more of a tourist creation than an authentic village. Still, it was perfect for us.
The first thing Bode wanted to do after our hike was climb rocks. The rest of us found the first flat piece of earth we could find and held it down and admired the view. We went for a quick dip in the pool that we’d been eying for several hours.
Everything has to come down here on a mule, so they grow as much as they can. Fruits and vegetables were growing everywhere, and we saw many of the same plants that grew in our back yard in California.
Of course, the food was excellent – all fresh from the garden. During dinner it began to storm, so afterward we headed straight to our rooms (very basic, with a dirt floor) and crashed. I think it was about 7 pm. We were thrilled to find out that our hut didn’t leak.