After a successful trip to the beach, we decided to spend the next weekend in Colca Canyon. I love Colca and I go there as often as possible. This time we went with a friend of ours and stayed in her lovely house in Yanque. We decided only to bring Teddy and Nala this time as our friend was also bringing two of her dogs and we felt that four dogs was probably enough, especially as we wanted to be able to go to the hot springs solo and ride the horses. Teddy is great left alone anywhere and is quite happy to settle down on a bed for a few hours, Nala I have never left for the night and I figured she would be fine if we brought along a crate for her to go in when we had to leave her in the house.
Setting out went smoothly. We stopped and picked up Fran and her dogs on the way and then set off. Colca is only about 3 hours from Arequipa and the drive is beautiful. We stopped a couple of times to let the dogs out and to take some photos.
We arrived in Colca around 12 and got settled into the house first. It has spectacular views!
That first day we went hiking with the dogs. I was worried about Nala hiking for long distances as she is only 4 months old, but she did great. I brought along my doggy rucksack and carried her when we had to cross the river. We walked down to the river first and saw some alpacas and sheep. All the the other dogs thought they were great, Teddy thought they were dinner!
After the excitement of seeing the animals, we went down to the river to cool off. Teddy likes to lie in the water right at the edge. Nala was reasonably excited about her first experience with water other than the dreaded bath! She went in but didn’t seem inclined to swim. Killa (the Lab) loves swimming and Illary (Collie) just likes to jump around on the edge mostly!
The river bed was awesome with the dogs as there was no one down there and Teddy could be off leash without me worrying about him. We decided to cross the river and go up the other side. The river was extremely cold and quite deep and strong. We waded across with only Carlos slipping and getting wet! I had to carry Nala across in the backpack and then go back for Teddy as Teddy doesn’t swim well. Teddy is heavy and awkward to carry but I have to do it as he wont let anyone else pick him up.
We carried on along the river on the opposite side and then went up some stairs, crossed the bridge and circled back to the house.
We ate dinner in a restaurant in town that night and we were all asleep really early. The altitude plus hike left us all exhausted!
Next day we got up early and went riding for a few hours. We went up to the top of one of the hillsides and got some great views of the canyon. Fran’s dogs came along with the horses, our dogs stayed in the house as it was going to be way too much walking for them.
We rode for around 3 hours and then went back to the house, rested for a couple of hours and went walking again with the dogs. This time we went back down to the river but walked the other way to Colca Lodge and then up the hill on the other side.
That night we left some very exhausted doggies in the house and drove over to Colca lodge for dinner and to use the hot springs. The water great after two days of hiking and riding. I love the pools at Colca Lodge and it was the perfect end to a long day.
Sunday morning we got up early and drove to see the condors. We were very lucky and it was a great day for condor watching. The dogs enjoyed it because there were lots of people around to pet them. And we got to see some birds close up. Our only mistake was that we didn’t charge the camera up before we went and so it died about 10 mins in so I don’t have any wonderful pictures of the condors. I think the condors realized that we didn’t have the camera and came down extra close just to tease us!
The dogs were a hit at the condor watching site and a lot of the tourists wanted to pet them and even take photos with Nala. I have to say that she is very photogenic!
After the condors we packed up the car and drove back to Arequipa. It was a good trip back with very little traffic and all four dogs slept soundly the whole journey!
We decided that the first adventure with all the dogs would be to the beach. I was slightly anxious about forgetting to bring something important, which led to us bringing way too much stuff, but at least I learned for the next time. The most stressful part of packing was food for the dogs. I have recently taken them off processed dog food completely and I am cooking all their food. It is working out great for them but it is more time consuming and a lot harder to pack than kibble. However I managed to pack ziplock bags of sweet potato, chicken, rice, veggie puree and canned sardines. I decided to skip bringing the supplements I use for them and just keep it simple for a couple of days.
My very clever OH has converted the back of our Land Cruiser into a giant dog bed. It is covered with a fake black leather-like material which can be easily cleaned after the inevitable vomiting of at least two of the dogs. The roads in Peru tend to be twisty and that combined with altitude changes always leads to at least one vomiting episode per trip. We tried to put everything we were bringing in the roof top cargo box so that the dogs would have as much space as possible inside.
We left on Sunday morning, we were planning on leaving around 7am but it was closer to 9am by the time everything was packed and ready. We managed to get everyone in the car relatively calmly and we were on the way! We headed first to Camana which is about a 3 hour drive from Arequipa city. We had been told that Quilka was a nice beach to camp on so were planning on heading there. We found the area of Quilka, but from what we could see of it, there were lots of people and it was quite busy. I think there are probably parts that are great for camping but we need someone who knows the beaches to show us where.
We found a place that looked good on the main beach at Camana. However we drove right onto the sand thinking that it looked like a great place to camp and our car got stuck in the sand. We made a huge mistake not thinking about which tires we were using. We tried digging the car out of the sand but it wasn’t working so we just set up the tent for the night there. We bought a great tent that attaches to our car so there is plenty of space for all of us and our stuff. I love love love this tent. Its big, roomy, easy to set up and I can stand up inside it. The dogs also love it because its easy to get in and out of and they can use it as a shade during the day. Its like their own cave!
After getting the tent set up we managed to light a bonfire, toast marshmallows and relax. We actually slept very well that night and the dogs had no problems settling down and sleeping the whole night.
The next day we were lucky enough to see some men working on a building site down the beach so we asked them if they could come pull the Land Cruiser out of the sand.
Finally after getting the car out, we could all relax and enjoy our day on the beach. We decided just to leave the tent where it was and move the car to the road next to the beach. It wasn’t ideal having the car and tent separate but it was fine.
The dogs were actually incredibly well behaved at the beach. We are having some issues with Wilson barking and running at motorbikes and other people. He doesn’t actually want to hurt anyone. He just loves to say HI! but people, understandably, don’t really want a 50kg great dane running at them and barking! However we just put him on a tie out rope for a while so he still had plenty of space but we could control what he was doing. Teddy ,of course, went bananas over all the sea birds. He can’t help chasing anything that moves. He had some off leash time but he is the leader of the dogs so if he races off after something, they all race off with with him! So Teddy was kept on the leash for a lot of the time, but he still had a great time!
We all had a wonderful day, playing on the beach, running, playing fetch, and it was so nice to see all 6 dogs out and playing and getting tired together! Usually we have to walk them in 2s or 3s so it was nice for all of us to be together the whole time.
I bought Lola and Chester new rash guards for the beach. I was very happy with them, they dried fast and protected them well from the sun. I was also so proud of Lola and Chester at the beach, they were having fun playing with the big dogs, no whining, no getting scared. Lola especially loved the sea and I was worried she would get caught up in the waves!
Papi was the best behaved, as usual. His favourite part of the beach was getting to sleep with us in the tent at night! He is a terrible snorer, so at home he sleeps in another room with Wilson. But getting to sleep with us was such a treat for him.
Nala thought the best part of the beach was rolling in stuff and eating as many dead crabs as possible. She was awesome as usual. She always sticks as close as possible to me and I never have to worry about losing her anywhere!
All in all it was a very good first trip. We managed to get stuck in the sand but we got out again! The dogs were great, we didn’t lose anyone, and all the dogs were sandy and exhausted by the time we loaded them up in the car to go home. The only problem we did have was that both Papi and Teddy suffered a little with the sand in their feet. It seemed to rub them between their toes and irritate them. Next time I will find some paw wax to put on before we head out on the sand.
Here we are, all packed up and ready to go home!