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I have stopped in the Andes to warm up. I decided to hit the brakes because of the cold rain, cloudy skies and muddy roads of the rainy season. Several mountain passes reaching up to 5000 meters awaits, and I will gladly keep them waiting until Peru dries up. Until then I am working at a cozy mountain lodge together with a warm and glowing American woman. I am the one who is responsible for the heat at the lodge however, as I am on wood-chopping, sauna-heating and fire-starting duty. I also get a lot of warmth back from our guests. It feels as if this is our own little lodge where new friends come to visit. The tranquility of the low season give us plenty of time for long conversations in front of the fireplace, with lama-wool socks on our feet and tea cups in our hands.

One of our guests has to endure the extreme cold out in the mountains, as he walks off in the early morning mist to climb a nearby 5000 meter mountain. Before night fall his girlfriend gets a phone call, and he tells us that he has slid down on a platform below the summit. Further below are vertical cliffs and he can’t get anywhere.  The snow starts falling, the darkness is lowering and the temperature drops. We find a climbing rescue team and send them up with some dry clothes and hot chocolate to battle hypothermia. They race up the mountain as little dots of light, and as our only hope. It is a long night inside by the heat of the fire, and an even longer night out in the cold mountain air. We have each other, he is all alone.

The hours disappear into the night, but before dawn we can see the head lights making their way down in the dark and we can finally welcome them inside. All of them have survived. After the drama on the mountain I feel an even greater humility and respect for the Andes. I love to admire their white peaks as the cloudy sky clears and I love to climb up to their glacial lakes in the sunshine, but I am certain that I don’t want to cycle through their snowstorms and downpours. From here the mountains are pure pleasure. I am sheltered from the rainy season  and I could not have found a warmer place to wait out the cold.




  1. Guillermo Bustamante Monday, March 28, 2011, at 3:16 PM

    Hi Hanna. where are you right now?? In Huaraz? Caraz? I really hope you are having a really nice trip. Have you stopped to wait the rainy season stops? Best regards. Guillermo Bustamante

  2. Jeff Bartlett Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at 9:29 AM

    Great to find another cycling site! Keep up the riding and blogging!

  3. Anna N Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at 12:04 PM

    Som vanligt: Rolig läsning och underbara foton! Önskar jag kunde mysa där i din stuga med en kopp te jag också.
    Kram Anna

  4. Anna S. W. Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at 1:16 PM

    Ja, det är så spännande varenda gång du uppdaterar! Jag ser så många bilder när jag läser dina texter! Bilderna du skapar av både text och foto är fantastiska!
    Jag önskar se iallfall ngra kort på dig i dessa omgivningar. Här eller FB… Tack! Även om inte du tycker om att stå på den sidan kameran är det roligt för oss att få en glimt av dig! =)
    Tänker på dig!

  5. Baptiste Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at 2:44 PM

    Every day, almost, seems to tell us you took the right decision, staying up there in your (log?) cabin while snow, rain and hail pour down on some cyclists further south. Enjoy your stay, stay clear from scary incidents and keep Emma warm for more crazy rides! The best (or the worst, we might say) is awaiting!

    See you up some hill, down a valley, through mist or across a coffee table…

    (notice I only used one exclamation mark, with all due respect to the writing rules!) (<-I know, that's two now)

  6. JIM Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at 2:24 AM

    Tips till Anna S.W.
    Om du vill se Hanna framför kameran kan du bl a gå in på en annan hemsida genom att följa Thanks-Baptiste and Matt(a french guy on a bike)- 96 Cordillera Blanca och 95 Cañon del Pato.
    Tack Hanna för allt du delar med dig till oss av din resa. Kram.

  7. Deva Munay Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at 2:41 PM

    Beautiful!! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Anna S. W. Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at 5:01 PM

    Tack JIM för tipset! =) Så glad jag blev av ditt tips och att se dig, Hanna, skrattandes med vänner, spelandes gitarr och så. Kul att se deras kort där också-mycket igenkänning med massvis av motiv som jag inte tog pga digitalkamerans frånvaro. typ på duschen med elen…=)

  9. Anna S. W. Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at 5:06 PM

    @ Baptiste and Matt: Nice photos on your homepage! Had to take a look there to see some photos of “the Hanna”! =)

  10. hanna Thursday, March 31, 2011, at 7:27 PM

    Yes Guillermo, I am waiting out the rain a few km away from Huaraz and it is simply stunning here. I still go for day rides in the mountains and come back for a nice bowl of hot soup. I hope you re still enjoying cycling up and down that Ecuadorian mountain pass of yours.

  11. hanna Thursday, March 31, 2011, at 7:28 PM

    Cheers Jeff, I hope you like the site, I like yours.

  12. hanna Thursday, March 31, 2011, at 8:36 PM

    Actually Baptiste, that is three exclamation marks! You are forgiven however as I am glad to hear that you are well and that the snow, rain and hail hasn´t cooled down that burning bike spirit of yours. Enjoy the ride and stay safe, dry and happy.

  13. hanna Thursday, March 31, 2011, at 8:38 PM

    Thanks for being here Deva.

  14. hanna Thursday, March 31, 2011, at 8:52 PM

    I will get in front of the camera a bit more Anna, great that you found me on another site until then.

  15. Huck Saturday, April 2, 2011, at 11:34 PM

    Hanna, i wanted to tell you, just never got around to it, that you are one of the most inspiring people i have ever met. From one traveler to another, that’s a big thing. We both know that when traveling, inspiration is around every corner, and amazing people seem to land on one’s lap. Still, every time i think of you i can’t help but shake my head in awe. Sadly, this last trip into Latin America for me left a rather bitter taste in my mouth, but i want you to know the short time i knew you was in the top few greatest times of the whole trip, and extended stay in San Pedro.
    I’m now back in Arcata, California, preparing for a new season, and hoping to make many positive changes this year and on. I’m already up to a good start. How about you? I’d really like to keep in touch Our friendship meant a lot to me, as i know it did to Luke.
    Stay beautiful in the so-many-ways that you are. Love……..Huck

  16. Hanna Tuesday, April 5, 2011, at 11:43 PM

    Oh Huck, reading this makes me miss you so much. I am sending you an e-mail right now, I truly treasure our friendship too.


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