Marian Johns' Journal of the Desert
Explorers trip to Peru in 2002
Images by John Page unless otherwise noted
Day 27, September 30,
Cajamarca to Trujillo See
Monday – We prearranged to meet Edwin, yesterday’s guide, at 7:30 a.m.
for a tour to Cumbe Mayo, the Bosque de Piedras (Forest of Rocks), and
3,000 year old petroglyphs – all in the same area.
The road out of town was an obscure and complicated route. Without
Edwin, we would have had real trouble finding the way, and undoubtedly
would have wasted much time asking directions and backtracking when we
took wrong roads. Paul quipped, “Hey, we could have found this easy. Who
needs a guide?” The road we took climbed up and up, from about 8,000 ft.
to nearly 12,000 ft. where once again we were surrounded by a barren,
treeless landscape. But this was an altiplano dotted with beautiful rock
and not as flat as the other altiplanos we have driven across.
When we arrived at the archaeological site, we found the driveway in
blocked by a chain. Edwin and Paul walked over to the buildings to see if
anyone was there. There wasn’t, so Paul stayed with the truck for
security reasons while the rest of us walked down, first going to see the
petroglyphs that are in a shelter cave in the eroded rock formation at the
bottom of the hill. The designs are supposed to be Chavín in style, but
it was difficult to make them out.
Farther down the hill is Cumbe
Mayo, an ancient aqueduct, cut out of solid rock in this section that
remains. A right-angle jog in the course was made to slow the water down.
Perhaps constructed as early as 1,000 B.C., the aqueduct once collected
water from the Atlantic watershed and brought it to the Pacific side. This
was partly possible because it is so close to the continental divide.
There was some water in it, but only a trickle – it is no longer used.
While there, we watched two Indian ladies
bring their menagerie of
livestock – six cows, two burros, one pig, eight sheep, one horse, and
two dogs – down the hill to graze nearby where the grass looked thick
When we were ready to tackle
the hike back up the hill to the truck, a caretaker finally came to unlock
the chain gate – and just in time to collect the entrance fee. But at
least Paul was able to drive the truck down the hill to pick us up, so we
didn’t have to huff and puff our way back up. Once at the bottom with
the truck, Paul got to see the aqueduct and petroglyphs too.
Returning to Cajamarca, we
dropped our guide off, bought some groceries at a “super market”, and
headed for the coast and Trujillo. Had to drive over a pass first and then
followed a river down. Ate our lunch by the river,
out in the rocky canyon
bottom – no trees, but it wasn’t hot. It did get hot as we descended
and got closer to the coast. We passed by a large reservoir filled with
clear, turquoise colored water on the way.
In Trujillo, we stayed at the
same hotel – this time on the third floor. Sure glad they have an
elevator. Had a “last supper” at a nice restaurant we found by walking
around. It’s amazing how lively Peruvian towns become at night. Of
course, I had asparagus soup, my favorite on this trip. Reda and I split
an avocado salad. For the entrée, I had shrimp in another mystery sauce
over potatoes. They do love their potatoes here. At home, that dish would
probably be served with pasta or rice, but not potatoes. Then my three
companions paid for my dinner as another thank-you for planning the trip.
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