Plan B – A Scenic Spin to Huamachuco

Having had my first attempt at riding south from Cajamarca thwarted by the threat of robbery, my hand was forced into plan B. This contingency involved riding the increasingly popular dirt road route up from Jesus, through the small town of Cachachi and on to Cajabamba.  Although lacking the adventure of my original proposed route through Huaranchal, it still proved to be a lot of fun.

Map - Cajabamba to Humachuco

Route from Cajamarca south to Huamachuco… click here to view the fully interactive map and elevation profile

Cajamarca to Huamachuco Route elevation profile

Taking advantage of Tom Walwyn’s excellent route notes I said goodbye to my Cajamarca host family for a second time and set out towards Jesus. What followed was a relaxing jaunt up dirt road climbs, through small communities, down into hot river valleys and up into the vast colonial plaza of Huamachuco. A varied little stretch of riding that aptly reintroduced my mind and body to the road. Here is the story of those few days riding…

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Flying downhill on the paved road from Cajamarca to Jesus, the sun beats down and I’m happy to be free. Cycling through Jesus the pavement runs out, I turn right and start to climb

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Popping into a corner shop in Jesus I get chatting to these old guys, one of which owns the shop. They don’t let me pay for my Coke and cake and insist on packing me off with a cake bundle. Dear dear old men who have grown up and grown old together

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From Jesus there is nothing but climbing… up, up into a high world of big vistas

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Late afternoon I reach the top of the climb…

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… and am drawn to this shack. After a month down low in Cajamarca at 8,900 ft (2,700 m) I decide it’ll do me some good to camp high.

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So I pitch up in the shack at about 13,000 ft (4,000 m) and enjoy a relaxing evening…

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… with dramatic skies and nothing but the sound of the wind

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A clear starry night at my back I start to descend…

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… through green valleys and curious communities

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Then the climbing starts again. There’s not much height to gain but the road conditions sometimes make it a challenge

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Reaching the second pass I go through the gate…

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… and start the easy descent…

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… down to lunch in Cachachi

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From Cachachi the world opens up…

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… inviting me further down…

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… down to the river below

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Past fascinating mountains…

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… and across hot cacti packed slopes…

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… until I’m crossing the river and joining the paved road to Cajabamba

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After a navigation error, night in Aguas Caliente and 17 needlessly cycled miles (27 km), I get moving in the right direction. Slogging up hill through heavy and unpleasant road works I eventually reach Cajabamba…

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… where I snag a really cheap room just off the main plaza

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From Cajabamba it’s an easy paved day through dubiously named settlements to Huamachuco

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The first half of the day involves climbing away from Cajabamba. Then it’s a thrilling descent…

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… down to Laguna Suasacocha and on to Huamachuco

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The final stretch into town is a nightmare of road works. These guys block the road with their concrete truck and amuse me for an hour with their comedy road building antics.

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The size and colonial elegance of Huamachuco comes as a surprise

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Topiary fills…

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… its enormous central plaza. The perfect place to relax for the evening before setting forth on some real adventuring to Sihuas

 

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