Mar 222012

Arequipa, Peru.

Three days of hiking through Colca Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon (USA).

I found I’m actually not afraid of heights. I’m afraid of depths…

Getting up at 3 AM (ok, I was supposed to get up at 3. At 3.30 the friendly night-guard came a-knocking on my door. The bus to take us had come while I was still deep in slumber land. They left to pick up some other passengers to return a few minutes later, giving me the time to get dressed and grab my bag), to drive to Chivay in Colca-Canyon-Land, where we were to have breakfast.

Meeting up with the rest of the group in the bus: Some Peruvians, two Canadian girls, an American couple, a British couple. General tourist riff-raff as you will find on any trek basically (I felt completely at home!)

Now, I have the unfortunate trait to be awake once I get up, even if it’s before 4 AM. And in a horribly good mood. Which is very irritating if you are not a morning person (some of my ex-girlfriends can attest to this).

Luckily for everybody, I wasn’t the only one. The British guy had the same disposition as I did, so we spent the first hour trading friendly insults and barter, whilst the rest desperately tried to ignore us.

Driving, breakfast, splitting up (some of the group were doing a 2 day hike, we were doing 3). Left with the two Canadian girls and a Frenchman who didn’t speak English (but good Spanish. With a horrible French accent) and who had thought it necessary to bring a change of clothes for every day, a sleeping bag, 4 liters of water and his laptop (he quickly found out that our guide (Juan. Everybody here is named Juan) was actually quite a good mule as he made Juan carry all his stuff. Pobre mula!

3 days of hiking, going down into the canyon, walking around, getting back up again. Wonderful. Stunning. Amazing. Terrifying!

Let me tell you one thing about canyons: They are steep. Which is bad enough when walking in them. But even worse looking down. I was out of my depth (pun intended. If you come over you have every right to giving me a slap in the head).

Yet every time I looked down, the butterflies in my stomach seemed a little less upset (why do they even worry, they can fly down!). So every time a little bit closer to the edge. With every hair-pin bend I gazed into the abyss a little longer.

And it works! Step by step my fear of heights (depths) is getting less and less. So, when we came to the bottom of the canyon it was time to take my new-found courage to the test:

Laughing in the face of fear

The view from above

The bridge was about 10 meters above the river. Not that much, but it gave a definite rush of adrenalin!

I wouldn’t say I’m cured of my fear of heights (depths), but it certainly got a lot more manageable!

So, next time there is the opportunity, I’m going sky-diving!

Are there places where you can learn to say a prayer?