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Eventually the sun went down and we found ourselves settling in for the night with the miners. We had carried sleeping bags with us, as they didn't have room for us in their accomodations, so we cleared a sandy patch of ground and threw out our bags, sleeping in the sand (with the fleas... fun!) under the stars. It was a pretty incredible experience, at the bottom of the second deepest canyon in the world, a short distance from the Colca River, completely exposed to the elements, but with such as tremendous light show.

"Civilization" would require hours and hours of travel to attain--likely it was unreachable from here by any practical means except through Choco, which was a three to four hour hike out of the way. From Choco another four hour hike would bring us to the nearest road, which was a three hour drive from the nearest city, which also featured the nearest car, as nothing provided need for automotive traffic between Cabanaconde and the end of the road except for the supply deliveries for the store that occured three times a week.

We woke up the next morning with the intent of getting back to Choco as quickly as possible, before the cold of the high desert night gave way to the heat of the high desert day. The first section of the journey back to Choco, which had taken us two and a half hours from Choco to the Colca, consisted of picking our way up the myriad rough trails that seemingly randomly and aimlessly weaved up the canyon side. The ground was loose sand/gravel that gave way in three steps forward, two steps back fashion.

A short time into our return trip we drained the last of our water... A long, hot hike awaited our dehydrated bodies... and as the leader of the group, i had silently sacrificed my right to any of the water, allowing the others to finish it off. Needless to say i was slightly irritated by their complaints of thirst, even if they were legitimate... but somehow managed to keep my irritations to myself, fortunately.

Irritibality between the three of us who were given the opportunity to visit the mines notwithstanding, the return trip did offer up its share of beauty. This is shortly after we left the mines. i had stopped to adjust my backpack, allowing the others to go ahead, when i turned the corner of a switchback. The sun had hit a distant section of the canyon while a nearby rib kept us in shade. i pretended to be taking pictures of the river beneath us, and when the others weren't looking, i captured them tackling a section of the trail that went straight up the loose gravel. i also considerably underexposed (-2.0 EV) to bring out saturation in the background and to black the silhouettes completely.

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Additional Photos by Sam Beer (SamB) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 429 W: 58 N: 416] (1948)
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