Pampa Cañahuas (Or when Qhapaq meets Melissainthemiddle)

Golden lines

golden lines

Previously in Melissa in the middle

The secret bounty hunter has traveled around the globe in search of dangerous fugitives with her faithful motorbike, a silver cross and her travel blog as a façade to hide the real reason of her travels. Hired to hunt the most dangerous South American guy she is prepared to return home believing him death, until she discovers in the DNA of an eyelash that her enemy is not only alive but he’s actually her blogger friend Qhapaq, launching his ultimate plot in his secret headquarters in the core of volcano Misti 4000 meters (13 123 ft.) above the sea. Is the former spy going to catch to Qhapaq? Is friendship going to be more important than the millionaire reward?

Previously in Qhapaq

Francis is the Machiavellian genius behind counterfeit companies as Poma, Zony, Mitsusushi, Coca Loka, et al. Losing the memory after an explosion he started again as a blogger in Qhapaq, unknowing his past until now when the smell of the gunpowder in the morning triggered his memories! Inspired by the movie Superman I he is going to sink the Peruvian coast into the sea after buying cheap lands that will be the new coast giving him a lot of happy cash :P In the core of the volcano a cold heart waits without knowing that a lady is crossing the desert to bring him to the justice. Will he succeed?

(All this happened three months ago)


Walking in shadows


My blogger friend Melissa visited Arequipa and I was happy to met her. We tried to don’t turn the visit into a typical touristic trip, you know: “let’s take a scheduled car and from there let’s take the same photograph as showed in the postcard,” instead we walked places we both didn’t know. She chose Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Park, so we took a cheap bus with the intention to walk. I’m so sorry to say that although an enjoyable trip I didn’t search well and I exposed her to intense cold in a high altitude :-(  One always wins from the experience but I’d like to don’t have exposed her to such a harsh environment.

Elemental shapes in the highlands

elemental shapes in the highlands

Pampa Cañahuas is near Arequipa city at 4000 meters above the sea (more than 13 000 ft), more or less the altitude of the city I was born so my physiology is adapted to it, instead I suffer to walk in the coast. Melissa do it quite well, she just would need more clothes I think. In the beginning we walked under the shadows of lonely clouds and blue skies.

In middle of an infinite

in middle of an infinite

The mountain in the photograph above is called Chachani, it is a volcano and the name in Aymara language means “gallant”.

families ties

Family ties

We saw vicuñas. They are wild camelids; our ancestors domesticated alpacas and llamas but vicuñas have to remain wild in order to get their fine wool (one of the finest along our chinchilla, also a wild animal) It’s in the symbol of our national coat of arms and in the beginning of XX century it was forbidden to take without authorization to foreign countries.

The warming sun
clouds migrating the blue

Clouds migrating the blue

In the highlands under the shadows it’s cold, so it was a welcome change when we walked under the sun. I proposed to walk until a hill, and we walked but it was so far away! even worse it ended being two tall hills.

White line of alpacas

White alpacas in a black line

There are flocks of alpacas with eternal shepherds in the distance. Alpacas are domesticated and are the equivalent of sheeps.

White line of alpacas

White line of alpacas

The alpacas were so far away! if you couldn’t see it then above is the closest I could get with my zoom. Walking to there wasn’t an option as the shepherd dogs and the long distance were a barrier.

Starships in the countryside

Starships in the countryside

Fallen king in a green checkboard

fallen king in a green checkboard

Black eyes

black eyes

Do you see the hill in the photograph bellow? well, it took us almost three hours to get to the top :/

Vicuñas lost in the ichu

Vicuñas lost in the ichu

In the top of the world
a chair for one

a chair for one

We reached the top near five o’clock. Near the equator days don’t last so much so night was just one hour ahead. In the worry I’m afraid to haven’t paid to the Earth, I paid it days after in my house but I felt guilty. It’s simply to give her the first try of pure water or liquor in a way to say “thanks.” We saw the volcanos and returned using a little road to avoid accidents walking blind. As her safety was priority (being myself responsible for the wrong decisions) we walked to the highway and I didn’t take more photographs.

traveling to a safer world

traveling to a safer world

The photograph above to me was quite evocative, I thought in the happy ending of Blade Runner, the one used with fragments of other movies and the voice on off of Deckard.



little bird standing in the shadows

Little bird standing in the shadows (it’s the little silhouette in the center above the shadow of the rock)

unlimited world for three stones

unlimited world for three stones

A cloud following her

a cloud following her




And that was all. We saw a view few people see. I know it because there weren’t neither garbage nor drawings in the rocks as usually our national vandals/tourists love to drop. Annnnd this is the view ;-)

esplanade of the council of mountains

Esplanade of the Council of Mountains

(The funny thing is we hoped to see a lake XD)

39 thoughts on “Pampa Cañahuas (Or when Qhapaq meets Melissainthemiddle)

  1. How interesting Francis. I didn’t know that’s where the chinchilla came from, and there were still wild ones. Very interesting .
    That was some mighty rough terrain to be doing all the walking or hiking on. I’m glad everything worked out in the end;) fantastic photos.

      1. I don’t have the option for panos in my camera so I make them manually in my computer XD, but better, one I had a Fuji X-E1 the pano option gave me little files so it was better to take several ones and stith later.

  2. What an amazing imagination you have! I’d love to read a continuation of that story. I have great memories of that day even though I froze in the harsh, cold darkness and on the bus ride back to Arequipa. It’s just a shame that we couldn’t get to that lake!
    Your photos are leaps and bounds beyond my own. I can’t believe that you stitched seven photographs together! You are a true artist, aren’t you :)
    With great affection and admiration,

    1. We could sell the idea to Netflix, “The adventures of Milk and Cinnamon” XD
      I think more important was the shared time, the world is plenty of lakes to see, as we accorded next trip is going to be planned by you :-)
      Well, with ICE (a free program by Microsoft) it’s automatic and doesn’t require other skill than drag and drop the photos :P
      Thanks for your kind words and for being part of this adventure ^_^

      1. It was thrilling to play a part in your adventure!
        …But you’re right. Next time, I’m planning the trip :)
        Un abrazo y beso grande para mi amigo de canela!

      1. It’s the air and sky at 4000 meters of altitude. To us Ireland looks unearthly ;-) I’d say this is not much photography but the register of a walking, I didn’t have chance to set up tripods but simply take snapshots while walking and talking :-)

      2. Many photographers never use a tripod for the daylight photo shoot. Just a steady hand – it is what you need :)
        High altitude changes quality of light. My daughter lives at 7000m, and the images I take there come out different than where I live, the colours and everything.

      3. That’s good to read! it seems that with the super-resolution cameras of today, techniques as photo-stacking or others that requires bracketing tripods are used even in daylight. But that’s so complicated to me!
        Near my city is, according to Wikipedia, the highest permanent habitated city on the world,,_Peru , but it’s more like a place to extract gold in a dangerous way and it’s located at 5100m. Is your daughter living in a place of scientific observation or in a camp? 7000m sounds like an amazing adventure :-)

      4. Great place you are living in, fascinating. My daughter is living in a city :) Not really an adventure, because it is physically challenging at times.

      5. But near the city has to be amazing landscapes and the night has to have so many stars as in my own city. In our case we evolved with bigger lungs and a higher amount of red blood cells, instead to me is so hot in the coast, so to me there with the humidity and heat is the physical challenge XD

      6. At that altitude I think it’s inevitable to be a special city. This is for example my city, , it’s one thousand meters lower about what is supposedly the highest city in the world but as you can see our city is not common. Once I saw a documental about the coldest city in the world in Russia and it was fascinating, camping outside was colder than being in a fridge (and in my city there aren’t rats and vegetables can last more outside the freezer) and even more people hadn’t need of fridges!
        Happy weekend, Inese. Thanks for your time.

      7. I wondered why you find that altitude so unusual, and checked my comment :) So sorry for my mistake – it is feet, not meters! We use meters, and it is why I made the mistake! She lives in a city between 7000 and 9000ft altitude! :) Her house is somewhere in the middle. Sorry for my mistake, I thought ‘feet’ and wrote ‘meters’ as a habit :)

      8. Oh, don’t worry, we use meters too and sometimes it’s strange to have so high numbers with feet from US web pages. I found it unusual but not impossible because Wikipedia says there are higher places but not permanently occupied, so my interest in such spectacular location and how people from low altitudes had adapted to live :-) Thank you for the clarification, Inese.

  3. I’ve stayed stuck on this page for the last few days… thinking I should honor it with a long message to you… those pictures are so beautiful… all of them… and your character is so much that of a kind man… thank you Francis for being who you are… and for sharing the way you do… this won’t have been a long message, but I send on a long distance wind, and with all my heart…

    1. Your heart has wings and I’m grateful this flies to give me peace. I’m honored for your words, truth: it’s not a long message but it’s quite meaningful . I admire you more than you think, Caroline Dufour, thanks for give the beauty of your kind soul to this series, now this is more beautiful I think ^_^

      Wishing from the long distance that you and your loved ones are happy and well, thank you :-)

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