I had it quite clear that I’d camp this day, so that made it for a late start. Initial 13 kms between Caraz and Yungay are easy and there isn’t much to mention there really. Yungay is a nice town that looked a little more lively than Caraz. For me it was basically the real start of the day.
The uphill from here onwards is easy. But there are two problems that make it seem hard:
1. Once you’re at 2900masl aprox, it gets really sandy. The wind doesn’t help much neither. So it isn’t that hard to cycle sometimes.
2. Once you enter the natural park, the road turns into sh*t, and it stays like that until you leave it. Huge stones on the road and only a smal part of it clean-ish force yoh to end up looking for the best path all the time. A pain. A real pain. Expect some slow cycling here (unless it’s only you and your mountain bike, no saddlebags).
The views are much nicer once you get inside the park. Before, it’s small town after small town. There’re lots of them. Inside the park there’s no town at all. Only at the first lagoon can you find some food. From there onwards, nothing.
Park entry is 5 soles if you’re going for a day, 65 if you’re planning on camping. That 65 sol ticket lasts for a month. I managed to pay 20 for a 2-day ticket (yep, that’s double regular price, but the guard wanted some money or 65 soles, and I wasn’t paying that!!).
The guards at the lagoon were really nice (even if they must work there 22 days in a row!!!). Tourists were not so much. Also, discovered that there’s lots of illegal hunting in the park and that the guards can’t do much against it: they’re menaced that, if they try, they’ll get shot. Humans can be stupid sometimes (if not always).