The morning chill was still in the air as I stumbled out of my room. There is just that little something about going to a new volcano that generates an indescribable excitement which makes getting up super early bearable. Everyone was quite quiet in the 4 x 4, so I decided to plug in and listen to some tunes. We left Yanque, passed through Chivay, and after getting to the plateau on the road to Arequipa turned off on a relatively unmarked dirt track. At this point Sabancaya appeared less distant and was producing a nice ashy explosion, a quick stop for some photos and then away we went.
As we continued to drive I was struck by the peace and quiet of the plateau. Two songs then channelled through my earphones: A Distant Discovery by James Horner (from Deep Impact) and Exogenesis Part 3 by Muse. These songs, whilst demonstrating my eclectic music taste, mirrored the calm of the landscape, punctuated by the volcanic activity of Sabancaya. I found myself reflecting on my journey so far and the decisions which I have made to get me to this stage and where I may be in the future. It was that kind of location, hopefully that helps, my contemplations (unfortunately or fortunately?) will remain my own.
At points the landscape felt a little like we were on the Martian surface, just with a little bit more green stuff! Eventually we reached a spot nestled by a stream and what looked like a deserted somewhat luxury farmhouse. Part of the purpose for coming to Peru was to teach others to use our Raspberry Pi ultraviolet cameras. We decided to set up some cameras in the current location whilst others went further up the mountain. An intensive period of instruction and troubleshooting but also managed to get some great data at the same time. Bonus!
The air was so thin up near Sabancaya that it was really nice to start heading down again, the oxygen flooding in makes one feel quite sleepy! The cure - head to the hot pools on other side of Yanque, once you have found where they were of course! See the accompanying video post below.