Chachapoyas to Cajamarca Part II

On June 21, 2013

Leaving Kuélap I retraced my way down the mountain to the river. I followed that up until the small town Leymebamba, where the climb to a 3,800 m pass started. It was frigid at the top and I was in the clouds. The rain wanted to come but held back while I was riding. As I descended 100 m or so the clouds gave way and I had my first glimpses of the valley far below. A few kilometers from the top the dirt road turned into pavement, but kept the single lane with blind corners. This would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that the road was on the edge of a cliff most of the time. Near the top I saw two huge hawks or eagles just a few feet off the road. They were catching thermals and circled just in front of me before soaring off the edge and higher. I also saw a huge tarantula slowly walking in the road. I got close enough to snap a picture but it creeped me out. Just remember to keep your tent zipped at night! I saw a smaller one on the other side of the valley. By the time I got to the river at the bottom of the mountain, the weather turned extremely hot from the lower altitude and the landscape was a desert. The river is at 860 m of elevation, meaning I dropped almost 3,000 meters in one go! That’s a 9,800 foot descent for you imperial thinkers. It was over 50 kilometers of downhill glory. Followed by over 50 kilometers of uphill to the next pass. It was hard to keep my eyes off the road watching the switchbacks unfold below me. The views were picturesque.

I arrived in Celedin around 5 and decided to stop for the day. Asking around since I knew there was construction, I found out the road between Celedin and Cajamarca was only open at night from 6pm to 7am. That meant if I stopped I’d have to spend the entire next day in Celedin and then do a night ride regardless. I found a chocolate shop but it wouldn’t keep me entertained for a day, plus I need to get to Lima to sell Norton eventually (probably for parts at this rate). I hate night rides since I miss the scenery and its difficult to navigate technical roads under construction. A bus in front of me was stuck for half an hour on a particularly narrow and muddy stretch. I made it unscathed and arrived in Cajamarca after 10 pm.

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