Flights in Huancavelica
huanca = rock, willqa = holy, but wanka is at the same time the name of
an ethnic Quechua group
so etymology is not clear-cut. Historically Huancavelica is
an old colonial mining town.
Since the days of the
there seem to be a lot of
prejudices in all of Peru against this part of the country, I rarely heard
non-local Peruvians talk nicely about the area here. It was founded by the Spanish colonists as a mining camp to gain mercury,
which is indispensable for the treatment of the raw ores of gold mines.
Nowadays the mines still operate and the town leaves a rather idyllic
impression with its many colonial churches and nice squares. By a pretty orange coloured
train we went up the Río Mantaro and down the Río Ichu again.
When arrived, I found not only that the inhabitants are extremely friendly, but also,
that the rocky hill Potoqchi, the closest elevation to Huancavelica, is an exceptionally well suited flying spot.
Easy accessible and nice thermals.
Launch at 4200 m between ten and eleven
o'clock in the soft Ichu grass, direction
south towards the city, thermal flights, large landing strip in the local stadium at
3700 m. Towards the east the
valley of the Río Ichu is open, so cross flights down the valley may be possible.
The roofs of Huancavelica with the Potoqchi in the background
Launch helpers at the Potoqchi. 10:30, the
thermals are obviously already sufficient. The ascent lasts 1
1/2 hours, flying only until about noon, in the afternoon the wind comes
from the north bringing a strong downward flow.
Flight above the city, the Ichu valley
From the diary:
"there's already music playing in the stadium and sillions of children in sport dresses with
their parents and coaches run around: It's the large local
sport celebration. And while I still ponder over the brevity of life, of the history of human mankind and
especially of my flight (I wasted some promising thermals playing around with my camera),
I am at once surrounded by a large crowd, very different from the lonely Cordillera Blanca landings.
People tell me, it is the first time that
someone flies his paraglider here. Then I am handed around like a teddy bear in order to join fotographs
with various people, pretty teenagers throw kisses to me and want autographs,
thousands of hands, from smallest to wrinkled want to be shaken,
some officer in uniform and sun glasses, salutes with a military greeting
and asks for my personal data
"to capture this historical moment!" he says! Finally
the usual awkward folding of my sail, awkward because of the many small hands and feet in between,
stowing it away in the backpack and farewell.
Little later a violent thunderstorm with hail and snow lets forget that only two
hours earlier somebody has been hanging up there in the sky.
The following days other longer, calmer flights take place
in this magnificent area."
----------------------------------------------- With a paraglider above the Inca roads -----------------------------------------------