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Blogs from: Arequipa

High Altitude Grazing – Near Colca Canyon, Peru

 

Photo of the Day – High Altitude Grazing – Near Colca Canyon, Peru

Dead asleep in the back row of a jam-packed, nasty smelling van is where I found myself moments before this paradise flashed before me. Our Colca Canyon hike was over and we were driving through the frigid cold Andes air several thousand meters above where we slept the previous night.

The van pulled over to the side of the road and I was instantly awoken when the keys turned left and cut the engine. Sleepy eyed and shivering, I stepped down out of the van and smiled at the beautiful scene in front of me. There was a herd of Alpaca enjoying the fresh greenery growing across the Andean hillside.

High Altitude Grazing - Near Colca Canyon, Peru
 

Wild Peruvian Alpaca – Near Colca Canyon, Peru

 

Photo of the Day – Wild Peruvian Alpaca – Near Colca Canyon, Peru

The title of this post is a little deceiving. Alpaca have been domesticated for thousands of years in the South American Andes Mountains and there are no known Alpaca living in the wild today. So why label this guy a “Wild” Peruvian Alpaca? I caught him grazing in the “wild” as I drove by in a van after completing an exhausting hike out of the deep Colca Canyon in Southern Peru.

I’m sure a lot of people reading this own at least one clothing item that contains Alpaca fleece. Have you ever made the connection that you were wearing this little guy?

Wild Peruvian Alpaca, Near Colca Canyon, Peru
 

Peruvian Snack Stand – Arequipa, Peru

 

Photo of the Day – Peruvian Snack Stand – Arequipa, Peru

We stumbled upon this snack stand in Arequipa, Peru, just before we left for our adventurous hike through Colca Canyon. What I love about this photo is that it captures something very different that you would not see in most places in the world – especially the US. These snack stands were literally covered from top to bottom with goods, and what really makes this photo are the vibrant colors almost glowing from the packaging!

What other types of ‘stores’ have you seen that you’ve found interesting?

Peruvian Snack Stand - Arequipa, Peru
 

Flight of the Condor in Colca Canyon – Colca Canyon, Peru

 

Photo of the Day – Flight of the Condor in Colca Canyon – Colca Canyon, Peru

With a wingspan of 10.5 feet (3.2m) the Andean Condor is hard to miss. And it is certainly not something you’ll want to miss if you venture to Peru. We spotted this Condor flying high over Colca Canyon. Unfortunately, one of the more memorable things about this trip was taking a small van with a few too many people crammed in through the back roads of Peru making 15,000 foot passes. The van was freezing cold and insanely uncomfortable. I remember being curled up in the fetal position to try and contain all warmth, but also feeling every single rock the van hit. Our driver seemed to be receiving points for hitting rocks, making for a painful trip. I suppose this only helped to make the sight of the Condors all the better!

We photographed this Condor with the Nikon 18-200mm lens all the way out at 200mm (f5.6, ISO 100). The Condors were of course in mid flight and although they are massive, they were still quite far away making for a tricky shot. What we did have going in our favor was decent lighting which helped the relatively weak 200mm shot come out with some pretty good details. I love the finger-like tips of the Condors wings in this photo.

There are also California Condors in the US. Has anyone else seen either the Andean or California Condor? What did you think?

Flight of the Condor in Colca Canyon - Colca Canyon, Peru
 
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