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Here, far from home I did not feel loneliness, need, dependency — I was happy. The chloroplast genome of G.

Out of fear, out of excitement, out of helplessness — I could not tell.

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Every thirty seconds a blinding light filled up the darkness, which was immediately followed by a deafening thunder. Previous lightning struck somewhere fifty meters from my tent. The second one was closer. In my mind there was no doubt where the next one was going to hit. My small orange Marmot tent, standing somewhere four thousand meters above sea level did not feel like the most secure shelter in the middle of a midnight storm.

But there was just one thought racing through my head — how well will the small metal pipe connecting two arches of my tent attract lightning.

No-one could hear me scream, even if they would have stood just a few steps from my tent. Rain filled the whole world.

The drops hitting the tent were so heavy that I was waiting when will they tear through the fabric and flood the humble shelter. This was the first night of my four-day Santa Cruz trek. As the sleep was banished by the ongoing storm, my mind wandered back to Huaraz and why I decided to leave the comforts of the city behind and come hiking between the mountains that so temptingly gleamed from the distance. The drive from Lima to Huaraz takes about eight hours. This journey will take you along the coast of Pacific Ocean to the desert, then through farmlands that locals have reclaimed from the sand towards deep arid canyons, and from there upwards towards the sky.

There is a constant change of altitude and my ears were popping so often that I lost the count. The drive itself is burn fat queen peruu that interesting.

Found myself dozing off quite often in-between staring out the window. After a bumpy and cold night, the morning light drew back the curtain of mist and in distance the snowy peaks of Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Huayhuash were revealed.

I had reached the foothills of Andes and the excitement for discovering some burn fat queen peruu the highest peaks burn fat queen peruu this part the world was starting to kick in.

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Huaraz is located on meters above sea level and there is only one city that is higher in Peru. Cordillera Blanca Entering the city was unceremonious. It was a grey, rainy, cold morning and the dusty dry season roads had turned into muddy paths that were walled by two-three stories high unfinished brick buildings.

First floors were filled with small shops, modest cafes and restaurants, dark workshops, and uninvitingly dusty staircases that were yawing out onto street.

People outside seemed reserved. They were looking down, walking fast, but determined and knowingly towards their destination. Every dry corner, shelter, eave was occupied by a homeless dog who sometimes was driven back in the rain by an angry word, broom, or a kick from a local. November, Andean summer and the rainy season did not give the best theme for the introduction of the city. In and in Huaraz survived two tragic natural disasters.

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The first one happened when a small earthquake destroyed a dam up in the mountains and an avalanche of water, snow, stones, and broken trees wiped away the newest part of the city. On the 31st of May the biggest natural disaster of Peruvian history happened — 7. The avalanche that tumbled down from Cordillera Blanca was much more devastating than the one in Most of the city was destroyed in minutes and more than people lost their lives.

It was later confirmed that only 91 people in Huaraz survived. When the city was being rebuilt architects decided to get rid of narrow winding streets that during the disaster turned into death traps. 20 kg kaalulanguse napunaited were replaced with more open spaces. Wide boulevards were built, parks created, and smaller squares added.

These places function as recreational spaces and increase safety of the city.

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However, the disasters still linger over the city like dark shadows. Unfinished houses, metal rods that poke out form buildings, bare brick walls, construction rubbish, and ruins remind everyone what happened here and give Huaraz a raw atmosphere. The storm had disappeared and clouds were dispersing in the morning sun. After assembling the camp burn fat queen peruu a short break to enjoy one of the more beautiful sunrises I turned my gaze upwards and started walking.

The decision to burn fat queen peruu the main camping ground behind and stop further up in a less known place turned out to be great. It meant that last evening I had to take breaks after every ten meters, but now, fresh and ready I was so much closer to the highest point of the hike, Punta Union. The barely noticeable road meandered between large and clear melt water ponds and colossal boulders. The great granite walls forcefully reaching towards sky were silently passing me by.

Mornings in mountains are some of the more impressive moments in the world. Golden brown burn fat queen peruu yellow vegetation that swallow sunlight are a great contrast to blindingly white snowy peaks which reflect morning light as countless rays all over the valley. Between small soft clouds that hang in the air one can see bright blue glaciers. Being surrounded by these seemingly otherworldly sights I noticed that I had picked up some companions.

Two Andean condors were carried up by wind as I never noticed them flap their wings.

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Higher I marched worse the weather turned and more difficult the trek became. The ground underneath my feet was getting more slippery. Stones were covered with a thin veil of snow, it had started to melt and mix with water that was dripping down from cliffs. Setting one foot in front of the other was face lift slimming mask and after every 5 to 10 minutes I had to take a break.

During longer stops I filled my cheek with coca leaves and chewed these bitter herbs.

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These plants are the best remedy for altitude sickness. They give you energy, relieve head- and muscle aches, ease breathing, and help in many more ways. Locals wear beautifully sown bags around their necks that are filled with dried coca leaves. Dried coca leaves are usually chewed but you can also drop them in hot water and brew a tasty tea out of it.

While hiking the mountains it is possible to come across moments that can only be explained through the feeling, they stir in you. The same moment when your heart swells in fantasy movies, when there is a large spanning shot of the subject in the landscape. These moments are rare to happen, but when they do, it hits you with a force incomparable.

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As I was reaching next plateau and expecting next ascent after that I realized, I had made it to the highest point of my journey, Punta Union at meters above sea level. Pressing through a narrow saddle shaped opening a beautiful vista opened up into the nature beyond. This green brown valley was like a massive cathedral nave kakaopruun kaalulangus high crude walls were crowned by some of the most spectacular peaks in the world: Alpamayo, Santa Cruz, and the famous Paramount Pictures mountain, Artesonraju.

The soft carpet-like mountain vegetation felt good as I let my eye wonder into the distance. To put it into words is even harder. However, I might try by explaining how I felt at that moment. Here, lying on your back and leading your hand across the peaks towards the sky, anxiety and fear fused with inspiration, awe, and childish happiness.

It was difficult to breathe, not only because I was on meters above the sea level or because I had just finished a difficult pass, but also because the impression of the surrounding nature. For thousands of years these sharp peaks had pushed upwards with unrestrained force but now, resting next to them they looked calm and silent. I felt completely free. Here, far from home I did not feel loneliness, need, dependency — I was happy.

This was the place where my journey, adventure, life, and choices had led me. At that moment, a tiny person among giants I felt complete peace. Streets in the center bustle with alpinists and hikers looking for adventure agencies, backpackers keeping their eyes open for cheap hiking hear, and other tourists visiting markets and souvenir stalls.

All of us have come here to enjoy the surrounding nature. There are short one day trips to turquoise glacial lakes like Laguna 69 or Laguna Paron.

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These are good ways to acclimatize. After getting used to the altitude more serious hikers can challenge themselves with multi-day treks.

The most popular ones are four-day Santa Cruz trek and ten-day Huayhuash circuit. These are also considered to be some of the more spectacular walks in the world.

If someone needs more excitement or they really want to push themselves, then Huaraz is surrounded by peaks waiting to be conquered again and again. Short one day climbs or extremely difficult several day excursions are available.

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There is something for every taste and level of experience. Like the day before I decided to leave the official camping site behind and walk additional 2 kilometers to Alpamayo base camp. While working as a volunteer at Andean Summit several people told me that the extra effort will be worth it.

After a steep walk uphill and over a wet plateau I reached a huge Andean Polylepis which was towering above a comfortable-looking moss covered floor. This old burn fat queen peruu tree was like a roof over the campsite. Setting up camp and deciding where and which direction put your tent is one of the more enjoyable elements of hiking.

Especially when you can set it up so that your door opens up towards the perfect pyramid shaped peak of Artesonraju that shines violet red in the blazing sunset. That night I was not the only person around.

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As the evening shade was crossing the valley a French guy called Jean walked into the camp. His path went opposite way to mine but as it happened it was the second night of Santa Cruz trek for both of us.

The beauty of hiking is also revealed in casual acquaintances — friends that step into your life for just a moment and disappear down the road the next day. In the evening, underneath the shining stars and next to the blazing camp-fire we shared our food and made something heartier for dinner.

Just for these moments I took a small bottle of whiskey from Huaraz. We felt good and the mood was grand. Evening hours disappeared fast in engaging conversations and photographing night sky.