Posted by: Ali | April 25, 2010

Chachapoyas: Day 2

On Sunday, we woke up again at 6 to leave for the day, but today was supposed to be horseback riding.  Sort of.  We ended up getting mules, and I found out why mules are known for their stubbornness.

Lisa, who was on the lead mule, and me, who was in second, were the only two who had stallions.  Boy-mules?  Can you call a mule a stallion?  I dunno.  Anyways, they didn’t like each other that much.  My mule was insane, and didn’t like going on the established trail if he thought a different route would have less mud on it (I guess he didn’t like getting his feet dirty).  So more often then not he would lead me up around a rock only to discover a four-foot drop at the end of his chosen trail.  This did not deter him though, he would just jump down.  With me on him.

Because my mule (who didn’t have a name but I called him Moolie) kept going on alternative routes, sometimes I would come close to passing Lisa’s mount, which didn’t please either of the boy mules.  This happened a few times and they would kick at each other, so after that I made sure that Moolie went very slowly every time he tried to pass Lisa’s.

After lunch, we all switched horses to redistribute weight.  I was switched to the smallest mule, who I named The Hulk, since she was carrying someone really heavy in the morning despite being the smallest.  Unfortunately, the stirrups were all wrong and so the group set off without me while one of our guides had to completely redo my saddle.  In the end, I was in a small group with just myself and Barbara and a guide, and we brought up the rear.  Barbara was completely useless on the mule, so our guide was basically pulling her mule along, while The Hulk blazed a path.

After about fifteen minutes, the guide (I would tell you his name but I never understood when he told me, it was either Fernando or Geraldo or Eugenio… I think it was Geunando) got tired of pulling along Barbara’s mule and told us to switch, since I had better control than her and apparently The Hulk was better behaved.  So I got a new mule, who I named Zebra because she had a random stripe across her shoulders.

Zebra was a problem.  She would walk along fine for about thirty seconds, then stop.  Not because she was hungry, but just because she wanted to.  Then the guide would have to yell at her, and she’d start again, for thirty more seconds.  It was a long afternoon.  We got to this one crevasse that we had to cross where we had to dismount while the guide led our mounts up.  The Hulk went peacefully; Zebra decided to jump across the hard bit and then continue on to the top.  Once we got to the top, we discovered that Zebra had kept walking – she didn’t mind walking with no one on her back!  She kept running away when we would approach, so it took our guide half an hour to go catch her for me.

Finally we got to the end of the path, where we were going to dismount, and we were told that it was another three hours of hiking from there, and it was… hmm… five o’clock.  Apparently this tour group had a thing about hiking in the dark.  Also, Augusto has no sense of time, apparently.  He initially assured me that we would be there before dark, then continued to tell us that we were two hours away for about two hours, and then said that the group shouldn’t split up because there was a shortcut about an hour away that he didn’t want us to miss, and then the same shortcut was literally around the corner.  Sigh.  Peruvian time.


  1. Fat people on Mules? Now thats just abusive


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