Monday, October 19, 2015

Leaving Nazca for Abancay

This is Mike...
We left Nazca heading toward Cusco but since the roads are so steep and curvy the 500 Kilometer (350 mile) journey actually takes two days of driving to get there. We decided to stay in a medium sized town called Abancay so as not to push it with all the high altitude driving sometimes exceeding 15,000 feet (4,500 meters). I cannot stress enough just how amazing it is to see mountain after mountain completely denuded of any forest. We have driven a couple thousand miles through Peru and Ecuador and I can easily say it appears that 80% or more of the mountains are barren grassland or to a lesser extent in agricultural cultivation. Many of the landslides, are in large part, a direct result of their deforestation. This is so sad, as many people in the developed world falsely believe things are improving and/or are hoping that it has gotten better, but it is has not. We have spoken with people who were in Peru 40 years ago and they cannot believe what has happened both in total deforestation and how the cities mushroomed out of control.
   When we were visiting the archaeological finds in the Nazca area, there were images of macaws as well as mummified macaws, images of monkeys etc. those animals are long gone from the area. Most likely the nearest habitable zone for any of these animals is at least to 400 kilometers away. Peru needs to plant billions of trees in a hurry just to keep up with home heating demands let alone demands for construction or furniture. All of the countries that have amazon jungle within their boundaries are chopping it down like mad, rather than replanting previously cut areas like other developed countries do. These countries could easily start forestry programs to manage their resources and plant trees for future use, but they don't or the programs or wholly insufficient. Meanwhile the people desperately need wood so they can cook and stay warm. Thus, their forests are disappearing out of need. Man's apathy and hatred towards nature is by far the saddest aspect of our journey to date. Now, I realize that all men aren't apathetic nor do all men hate nature, but those who do are stealing it from the rest of us.
The Paredones ruins are also well preserved and easy to access.

Cantalloc Aqueduct is an ingenious system of moving water over great distances in the desert. Much of the aqueduct was buried by the Nazca peoples.

Water was running through just like the day it was first built.

Here you can see how the wood is still keeping the dirt from collapsing into the water.

Some of the exposed section of the aqueduct.

No trees.

The sand dune in the background is called Cerro Blanco which is the highest sand dune in the world at 2,100 meters (6,900 feet). The sand dune is just behind the mountain and is the highest point.

Beautiful scenery

Many areas up to Abancay were quite picturesque

Snow is so pretty in the distance.

Only a few trees remain but will be gone soon.

Wild Vicunas were near the road on our drive.

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