We'd been told that the 2 day trek was the best option to see (tackle?!) it. It's also famous for its condors and I was looking forward to seeing them!
We started at 3am from Arequipa - heading to the park for breakfast - we weren't impressed to be walking for 4 hours on just bread & jam though....
After breakfast we stopped at Condor point - usually prime viewing for the condors - but the heavy cloud cover kept them away. We fared better once we had started our descent into the canyon and the sun had burnt some of the clouds away.
Condor point - you can see the clouds filling the canyon
We took our time on the descent - you can't walk and take pictures at the same time else you'd fall off the cliff face path!
Our trail was the main way the people in the villages below get in and out - makes you appreciate how difficult it must be when everything has to be carried in and out.
We stopped at a little village for the evening - a swimming pool was apparently warmer than the river but not that enticing for us cold and wet. We shared a few piscos and some beer with the bartender who's birthday was the following day - he was celebrating with us early, and had an early night.
Back up at 5am for the near vertical ascent of the canyon - before breakfast...
I managed the 1200m hike in 2.5 hours which is not something that I'd ever thought about doing - but it was an achievement to have done it!
Dawn breaking over the cloud cover:
Next we headed for a well deserved breakfast - a bit more substantial than bread and jam this time! The bus then took us back out of the park - stopping along the way for some site seeing and to taste a colca sour - made out of the juice of the sour catus that grows above a certain elevation.
The best stop was the hot springs though! These were made to sooth our tired muscles!