Picnic at Paron

Before the sun rose, we were up and packing lunch (that could feed a group for a week) and gathering clothes (that could protect for all possible weather conditions). Gary and I had made plans to go hiking for the day with Philip (almost 7) and Mayrin (11).

We put those plans into action and caught a combi in Huaraz heading north. Not to Carhuaz. To Caraz. The combi drivers love to yell:

“Carhuaz Caraz! Caraz Carhuaz!”

A jumble of cities.

I heckled with a few taxi drivers once we arrived in Caraz and after a lengthy conversation with this one driver, Abel, we shook hands and headed up the dirt road to Lago Paron. Fifteen minutes into the drive, we had to reverse on a one lane road because a large truck was driving towards us. Once we had reversed 50 feet and pulled over to the side of the road, the truck continued driving in our direction, parked next to us, and the driver got out. There was a second truck behind the first being pulled by a rope. Its engine was busted. Gary hopped out of our taxi, snapped some stellar photos of Huandoy, and helped push the truck out of the way. When there was finally enough space to pass, we continued driving up the zig zag road, quickly gaining elevation.

When we arrived up at the lake, all the way up at 4,155meters – 13,632 feet, we were more than ready to stretch our legs. This is when things got a little wacky.

The cab driver had agreed to drive us up the hill for 70 soles. We had paid 50 soles for gas on the way up the hill. I handed him 20 soles and he said:

Cincuenta mas. (Fifty more.) -taxi driver Abel

Uhh, no. Estamos bien. Tienes setenta. (We’re good. You have seventy.) -me

No. Dame cincuenta soles mas. (No, give me fifty more soles.) -taxi driver Abel

Well, we bickered and he proceeded to change our agreement, saying that gas was not included. Not cool. I called him on his BS and he stumbled over his words. After more discussion, he said to not worry and that our original agreement was fine. He would be back at 3pm to pick us up and then we would pay him 60 more soles to drive us down.

When he drove off
, neither Gary or I thought he would come back. We weren’t too worried, because there were other taxis starting to show up and even a few combi tour buses were unloading.

To the lake! Carry on!

Philip, Mayrin, and Gary with Huandoy (6,360mters – 20,866feet) in the background.

Mayrin and I decided we would hike all the way to the beach at the far side of the lake. The back ridge mountains from left to right: Piramide (5885meters – 19,308feet), Chacraraju (6108meters – 20,039feet).

Vamos a la playa!


We made it all the way there and were greeted with an entirely new 360 degree view! Looking back to the west (we started on that side of the lake)!


Artesonraju! (6025meters – 19,767feet) Artesonraju…the Paramount Pictures logo!

As stated on the Paramount Pictures Wikipedia website:

“Legend has it that the mountain is based on a doodle made by W. W. Hodkinson during a meeting with Adolph Zukor. It is said to be based on the memories of his childhood in Utah. Some claim that Utah’s Ben Lomond is the mountain Hodkinson doodled, and that Peru’s Artesonraju is the mountain in the live-action logo, while others claim that the Italian side of Monviso inspired the logo. Some editions of the logo bear a striking resemblance to the Pfeifferhorn, another Wasatch Range peak.”


Mayrin and I ate our lunch on a boulder and oogled at the big mountains. Two cows on the other side of the river spotted us and walked with purpose across the river to greet us. One cow fought a large bracket of trees to get close to me and successfully licked my hand with its incredibly long tongue.

They must have smelled our delicious sandwiches. Mayrin kept laughing. We finished our meal, bid our friends goodbye, and began the return walk along the north side of the lake. We want to hang out with Gary and Philip!


Awesome hiking partner! Photo credit to Gary:

When we reunited with Gary and Philip, we hung out and played “I Spy…”. When the rain started, we shifted our sitting spot the the covered walkway outside of the tiny guide refugio. Color! Photo credit to Gary:


Our taxi driver didn’t show. As we figured. We donned our rain gear, got our hitch hiking thumbs ready, and started to walk down the road (it’s an hour and a half drive back down to Caraz). 15 minutes later a tour combi full of university students from Lima picked us up and we bumped down the road to Caraz. Philip and Mayrin’s first hitchhiking experience, check.

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3 Responses to Picnic at Paron

  1. Blake Boles says:

    Those shifty taxi drivers.

  2. Danny says:

    Glad you are getting out and about with Gary and Philip. Gary made our trip to Huaraz possible, and it was one of our most memorable portions of our 2 years of traveling. Give him and his family our best!

  3. ClaireB says:

    I love hearing about your adventures with Gary and Philip! Philip was so little when we were there.

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