Fresh off our five day journey, we arrived in Huaraz, Peru tired and travel-weary. After resting in our wonderful hostel--Churup--for a few hours to recover from the overnight bus, we spent the better part of two days researching trekking companies and trying to decide on the best way to explore our beautiful surroundings. In the end we chose to go with the extremely competent and amiable folks at Huascaran for our four day Santa Cruz trek, a partial circuit through two valleys that stayed relatively lower than the 5000-6000 meter peaks we walked between. The highest point on our trek was the 4750-meter pass called Punta Union. Our guide, Miguel, was a friendly and talkative young man from near Huaraz, and he was accompanied by Santiago, our ever-smiling mule driver from the small village of Vaqueria, where we started our trek. Santiago and the mules carried the tents, food, stove, and other equipment, leaving us to carry only daypacks with extra layers, water, and a small snack.
While the ambitious part of me wanted to try a more difficult hike, attempting to summit one or two of the glacier-capped peaks, in retrospect I think this was the perfect trek for us, as we had limited experience with long hikes, no mountaineering experience, and neither of us had been at such high altitudes, and thus didn't know how our bodies would react.
The entire experience was wonderful, and the views were breathtaking. I'll let the pictures and videos speak for themselves.