I’ll never forget the moment the earthquake hit. It was 2:30 pm.
Jim, the photographer with whom I traveled, and I had been catching naps recovering from a 14 hour bus ride that took us overnight up to and over a 16,000 foot rise in the Andes Mountains with several 1,000 foot drop-offs along the route (I was totally under the influence of Dramamine so fortunately don’t remember most of that ride). We each had cots that amounted to pallets with a sort of mattress tossed across them. Jim had just risen and asked what time it was. As soon as I said “2:30”, the adobe block hotel we were in deep in the Cotahuasi Valley (Peru) began shaking like a rail car run off its tracks. We bolted down the steps and into the courtyard to see the mountains around us exploding. Boulders the size of houses tumbled like pebbles down the slopes.
Looking up, we could see the switchback road – our only way in or out of that remote valley – was covered in landslides from the top where it crossed the ridge to nearly a 1,000 feet below where it entered the village. The valley took extensive damage but fortunately there were no fatalities. Eventually we were able to finish the assignment.
I recently found some pictures from that trip and they are below. None in the way of the earthquate damage, but some from the rest of that trip. We were reporting on a group of volunteers who were backpacking across the mountains showing the Jesus film in remote villages. Since we were so close, Jim and I slipped away at the end of that coverage to grab some stock images from Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca holy place for indigenous Andeans. Enjoy.