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October 2012
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Sajama Hike (Climb), Sajama National Park, pt. 5

Queñua Tree

I’m sure it is very satisfying to reach the peak of a mountain after a long and arduous climb.  To me, though, it seems like the few minutes of satisfaction would be poor compensation for the long, arduous, climb.  For that reason, my “peaking” has been limited to some pretty easy and low peaks, like Frary Peak on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake of Utah.

So, I’m not interested in climbing Tata Sajama.  I’m satisfied to view it from afar, and maybe from a bit nearer.  For the nearer view, hiking up the path used by climbers for the initial ascent of the Sajama is probably as good an alternative as any.  It is a beautiful hike up through the highest forest in the world, consisting exclusively of queñua (Polylepis tarapacana) trees which can survive up to about 17,000 feet of altitude.  This forest harbors unique flora and fauna, and particularly a number of birds endemic to such high altitude forests.

Black Siskin

I didn’t get very far up the mountain (yet another reason to go back to the Park), but I enjoyed the walk immensely.  The views of the mountain are incredible; the birds are flitting around among the unique trees; and I pushed a herd of llamas up the canyon as I went.  I’d definitely recommend a day-long hike up and back.

White Winged Negrito

Attached is a  .gdb filea you can use in your GPS or in Google Earth to get a better idea of the road to Base Camp Cara (probably “q’ara” in Aymara, meaning “hill with little vegetation) and the trail on up the canyon.  The turnoff toward the mountain (south) is some nine miles from Tomarapi (or 2.5 miles from Sajama).

The final installment of my Guide to Sajama National Park is The “Old Road” Back to La Paz; Sajama, pt. 6.


Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » Albergue and Capilla Tomarapi, Sajama pt. 4
Time November 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm

[…] The next installment of the Guide to Sajama is Sajama Hike (Climb), Sajama National Park, pt. 5. […]

Pingback from Larry Memmott's Blog » The Churches of Curahuara de Carangas and Sajama: In and Near Sajama National Park
Time February 16, 2016 at 7:19 pm

[…] 13,000 ft., Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.  In the U.S. the tree line never exceeds 12,000 ft.)  I hiked up the mountain for a few hours following one of the trails used by climbers of the mountain, but there are many […]

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