“We’re going over there,” pronounces Miri, pointing to the distant hill that rises from the mist. Four days later, we set off from Huanchaco towards the looming rise in the distance with Tomasa trotting behind us, unaware that we are destined for a long walk. “We’ll be done in four hours,” I predict, “One hour there, two to climb it, and an hour back.” Shortly after leaving, it becomes clear that this is another example of why no-one should trust in my abilities in the great outdoors. The path to the summit across the yawning stretch of barren sand-scape is blocked, firstly by huge pits torn out for the apparent purpose of extracting rocks, and secondly by a selection of squat but long battery-farming chicken barns. Between navigating man-made cliffs, fetid drains that shat out the waste water from the barns and the barbed wire fences that surrounded them, we arrived within straight shot of the hill after a solid two hours walk.
“This isn’t the delightful walk that I expected,” I admit as we stomp up the steadily increasing incline. We decide to cut our summit attempt short with the prospect of a long return journey, mildly irritated with Tomasa’s still-present abundance of energy despite our fatigue. Looking back, the speck of Huanchaco appears very small set into the coastline amidst the vast expanse of the flat Northern coast of Peru. I realize for a split second that if I don’t get out of it for a break soon, I’ll go crazy in a suffocating bubble.
A couple of photos later we descend, heading for the ragged outskirts of Trujillo which seem to be more direct than our previous maze of chicken industry. Our brief attempts to hitch-hike back to Huanchaco prove unsuccessful as Tomasa laps water from greasy puddles and we decide to move further into town to pick up a combi. A dusty trio viewed with curiosity as we traverse the ragged suburb, we are accosted by a cheerful selection of chubby women playing volleyball. “You should get home before dark,” they cheerfully explain after posing for a self-requested photo, “Or you could get shot or raped.” With a building sense of urgency in the gathering darkness, we board the bus and begin the wide circumnavigation of Trujillo to return back to the bubble some six hours after leaving.