The Earthquake Coverage

The Cotahuasi Canyon where we were during the earthquake. We backpacked from just below the far shadow on the right - and still had a way to go.
The Cotahuasi Canyon where we were during the earthquake. We backpacked from just below the far shadow on the right – and still had a way to go.

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.

Dust filled the entire valley over the next 15 minutes after the earthquake. You can see the crack in the adobe building to the left. several building throughout the valley were leveled. Fortunately, our hostel was not one of them.
Dust filled the entire valley over the next 15 minutes after the earthquake. You can see the crack in the adobe building to the left. several building throughout the valley were leveled. Fortunately, our hostel was not one of them.

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.

Alpacka are proof God has a sense of humor. We encountered these on the hike out.
Alpacka are proof God has a sense of humor. We encountered these on the hike out.
Jim and our accommodations for the evening.
Jim and our accommodations for the evening.
Proof I really was there. Seriously, this isn't a Photoshop enhanced image!
Proof I really was there. Seriously, this isn’t a Photoshop enhanced image!
Cusco, Peru, is the point at which you catch a train to Machu Picchu. Cusco was the capitol of the Inca Empire. There are two large Catholic churches on the town square that were built on the foundations of where there were large temples to Inca gods. The temples were destroyed by the Spanish in their conquests and cathedrals built in their place.
Cusco, Peru, is the point at which you catch a train to Machu Picchu. Cusco was the capitol of the Inca Empire. There are two large Catholic churches on the town square that were built on the foundations of where there were large temples to Inca gods. The temples were destroyed by the Spanish in their conquests and cathedrals built in their place.

4 Responses

  1. Kristi

    Cannot even begin to comment on the awesomeness of your post! I would LOVE to see Macchu Picchu. What an amazing experience, even the scary parts…

  2. Carolina

    Ah, is that the ‘ole Pith hat I see? What ever happened to it?

  3. Chris

    Kristi, it is a cool place, including the market at the bottom of the hill that is a gauntlet that has to be navigated before busing to the top.

    Carolina, no that is actually one of my floppy hats with the bill turned up. I returned the hat to Jeff when we returned. I felt it had made the necessary trips and would be best suited for returning to its rightful owner.

  4. Janet & Tim

    Hey there Chris and family!

    Miss you all and wish I could get an address to send Madison a note, since you’re in your house now…Know you all have to be very busy settling in, but when you have time, would you or Michelle email me. At least once a day, if not more, someone asks about you all, or if we’ve heard from you..I’ve given out all the prayer cards you sent us, and could use a few more if you have any left..You’re in our thoughts and prayers daily! Tell M and M hi from us..love and blessings,
    Janet

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