Right, now all that palava is out of my system back to the post that I was planning on writing a day or two ago...
As I may have mentioned to one or two of you camping out in my hammoch in the jungle is one of the things I have been angling for on this trip, and as I am not sure when I might actually get the chance to do that, when I found myself with a bit of time in the high deserts of the Andes I figured it would be a shame to waste the opportunity.
The day before I had scoped out the area that I would be staying in, nicely out of sight of the village, some scrubby type bushes that could be used to make a fire and a stunning view of a volcano to wake up to in the morning. With the evening half planned I set about planning what to do with the daytime before that. Speaking to some of the others that I had met, there was quite a good tour that went up to the mountains, let you float in the salt lagoons, jump in to fresh water pools and then was rounded off with a free pisco sour as you watched sunset. Those of you that I have been wild camping with before will appreciate that last sentance but at the time I merrily assumed that everything would be fine.
It gets dark quickly in this part of the world and for whatever reason the moon rises late. By the time I had packed a few bits and bobs night really was in full swing and I was struggling to see where I was going. I left the main part of the village and trekked through the outskirts, wandering how the hell I was going to find where I had been the day before as I had just walked out over the desert, no paths, when there was a load barking of about three dogs off to my left. Normally I´m fine with dogs but there was something unnerving about not being able to see where they were, if they were rushing in for the kill or behind a fence in someones house. With the word rabies niggling at the back of my mind I decided that descretion was the better part of valour and beat a hasty retreat.
No problem, thinks I, there´s a road going the other way out of the village I´ll go that way instead. Unfortunately I hadn´t checked out that way before, and as I think it is part of a national park with no camping and a gringo with camping gear late at night is a bit suspicious at the best of times tried to head out avoiding the main, only, road. Not quite sure where I ended up but going on the tracks it was a fairly major thoroughfair for all the bikes you could hire. After a bit of star gazing, and to be fair I think that it was the most stars I have ever seen, decided that I was on to a bad thing and ambled back to the hostel.
Maybe I shouldn´t have been such a pussy about the dogs. Maybe I shouldn´t have assumed that people would have stopped me camping and used either the main road or my torch more. However one lesson that I should have already learnt: making camp after dark is always going to be a bitch.