Monday, December 12, 2011

Backpacking in Colca Canyon with a Friendly Dog Companion, Day Three

Anil and I woke up before the sun, and as soon as its first rays hit the mountains towering above the canyon we started an ascent back to civilization. The hike to the canyon’s rim was surprisingly tough. I think it took us nearly four hours to climb about 1,100 meters (3,700 feet) of elevation change, and we were quite tired once we did it. I guess it didn’t help that we carried heavy backpacks …

A few minutes into our hike we encountered two stray dogs. One of them quickly developed warm feelings for us (even though we didn’t give it any food), and decided to hike with us all the way to the canyon’s rim! Needless to say, the dog could hike much faster than we could, and if it had wanted, it could have reached the canyon’s rim in the fraction of time we did. Still, to our great surprise and amusement, the dog decided to stick with us and adapt to our slow speed. Every time the dog found itself ahead of us, it stopped to wait for us. Sometimes it would lie down and rest, and sometimes it would keep itself busy looking around and checking out the views, but only when we caught up with it, would it start going farther. The dog stayed loyal to us even when other hikers were passing us.

Anil and I were so deeply touched by the dog’s behavior that we promised to buy it a nice meal once we would all get to the village at the canyon’s rim. However, once we got there, the dog decided to part ways with us before we managed to fulfill our promise. I guess it decided that its job was over: it safely escorted as to the top, so it assumed that we didn’t need its guidance anymore. We felt sad about the dog leaving, as we truly wanted to reward it for its faithfulness, patience, and perseverance. The dog’s company, in addition to great views, made this hike unforgettable.