We drove the highest road on Earth
It was really more of an old mining trail than a road.
Looking up at Mt. Uturunku I was a bit nervous. Goose, our truck, had been good to us over the year and a half of travel from AZ, to Canada and down to Bolivia so far. Going up this mountain wasn’t worth hurting him and yet, it was somehow important to make it. I figured we’d never be able to drive so high ever again, so up we went.
Kelsey and I both popped a coca candy. I had my asthma inhaler handy, but figured I’d try the natural remedy first. Neither of us had been above 17,000 Ft. in elevation and never above 16,500 in the truck.
As we approached the end the tire tracks disappeared and we decided to walk ahead to see what was around the corner. This was the last reasonable turn around for the trucks leading hiking tours up here. The road ahead was about the width of the truck, but it looked safe. Well, safe enough to go a bit higher.
As I drove around the corner with K spotting to make sure I didn’t glance a tire on one of the boulders that rolled into the trail and start something that may be very hard to get out of I wondered if my hand eye coordination was working okay. I felt funny, we both felt sorta out there.
I drove as high as I dared and looked ahead at the washed out track. The road went no higher any more. Given where we were, we pulled the pin on this little adventure.
18,660Ft in elevation. That’ll do Goose, that’ll do.
No time to relax. We need all brain cells on deck to turn this truck around. The last corner was so tight that backing down seemed like a worse idea than a 20 point turn. Kelsey spotted and told me within inches of the edge when to stop. It really may have been a 30 point turn. I felt like Austin Powers, but with death as my mistake each time I pulled forward concentration was easy to summon.
Finally, facing the right way. We waited a few switch backs before celebrating. We chugged water and popped another coca candy before proceeding. We didn’t want the long downhill to catch us out, but we did it.
Well, Goose did it, we just went along for the ride. Nice work Goose, you old friend. What do you say we go visit Butch and Sundance’s supposed resting place next?