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Cascapampa's Coppers
A communitarian rural tourism project in the entrance of Huancabamba Valley.

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By Ronald Benites Rangel

Photos by Emmanuel Fernández Cardoza and Éricka Ramírez Guerrero.

This bird is locally known as cangana and its particularity is how builds a nest on the clay slope.

SONDORILLO, Peru - On the length between the place known as Cruz Blanca, the point where the road from Piura to Huancabamba reaches its top altitude, and the so-called Walking City, the mountain landscape is made for falling in love. What or who? It does not matter - just fall in love.

With that landscape charming the eye, it will be difficult we realize Cascapampa is about 40 km or 25 miles before arriving into Huancabamba City and 25 km or 16 miles after climbing up from Canchaque. This is a community dedicated to agriculture and cattle, about 170 km or 106 miles away the east of Piura City by car.

This one seems to be part of gazania variety, a flower native of South Africa and Mozambique that could adapt perfectly to the Andean environment. The color is real, thhe photograph was not actually filtered.

Cascapampa (probably from Quechuan 'sharp plain')  is on the East slope of Andean Western Range, 3180 meters or 10430 feet altitude, forming part of the Huancabamba River's valley, the most occidental tributary of Amazon River, and the reason why we should stop here is a communitarian project that takes advantage of the landscape, its own ecosystem -already in the eco-region known in Piura as jalca or moor- and a singular lagoon.

The site is popular for being a mandatory stop to buy cheese, especially on the returning way to Piura City.

When arriving, we got to identify a gauge and going it up about 7 km or 4 miles  in addition. At the time of producing this story, the rain has deteriorated it notably, but the croplands and the little forests of pineapples make the bumps worthy  for real.

The Peroles de Cascapampa Country Station assaulted by a bunch of roses, gerania, and dozens of beautiful flowers growing upat the moors.

After 20 minutes caring where to drive the car, and ever surrounded by the forest, we arrive to  a country station. It is known as Los Peroles de cascapampa (Cascapampa's Coppers), a rural tourism project created and managed by the community itself, built with contributions of the Sondorillo District's Municipality.

It is usual in Piura to call peroles (coppers) to the kind of natural pools created or found by the water as it opens its course. Here in the highlands, its particularity is they seem  to be eexcaved during centuries  of water erosion falling in cascades over some rocky beds, which are being potentiated as touristic attractions.

In Cascapampa's case, the community built a station with free spaces to walk  around or to share a snack, a fishfarm, a restaurant where it is possible to taste part of the production of that fishfarmm and a15-bed hostel which costs 30 soles or 7 dollars (actual conversion) per night.

The general entrance costs 2 soles  or almost half a dollar. A farmer gives us a gentle welcome.

Every cent  the station gets  is re-invested in the maintenance of the place. I figure out that having too much beauty together, the community should make a pretty most aggressive marketing campaign (that is why I write this article) for the visitors flow to be constant and the project generates some profits.

Tell me if this is not real beautiful: the lagoon in Cascapampa.

And talking about the beauty together, although I did not see other pools or coppers, the evident here is a lagoon, 400 meters or 1312 feet length, about 15 meters or 49 feet width, maybe 3 meters or 9 feet depth. When you go sailing on the little boats powered by pedals, what catches more your attention is the water transparency, so much that you can see the plants living inside it.

Somebody surveils me  from the land, and it is not about a farmer but a white-haired beautiful llama looking so focused at me. But when it does not look at me,  I notice it also stands looking at the highlands landscape. May be it a guardian apu or tutor god of the environment embodied in that beautiful South American camelid?

By the way, a sign  warns not to  bother the pretty laminoid unless you wwant to suffer from a deserved spittle.

This bridge over the lagoon in Cascapampa was made fully of branches from the surrounding forest.

While I walk up throughout the clay slope of the imponent mountain, I realize how the copper was formed. It is about little creeks feeding the lagoon due to the capture process of humidity  that happens at jalca, from the little water drops suspended in the clouds as well as they integrate to fall as rain.

As it happens when I visited the Shimbe Lake (about 80 km or 50 miles away to the North where I am),  and over any surface, the water accumulates where it finds any type of deppression.

Of course, this place has a lot of wild fauna, birds in particular for those who  are fans of watching them, or who want to be lulled by their tweets, confusing with the creeks' ones.

The cangana [see its photo beginning this story] is one of those birds, that characterizes for making their nests on the clay wall, giving the appearance of little windows. There are also hummingbirds.

There are roses and flowers of different colors too.

Another attraction on the lagoon to test how much fit you are, especially over 10000 feet altitude. The man with me is one of the local farmers who got to help me for making counterweight.

Coming back to the restaurant in the station, the menu is made of trouts from the fishfarm but hen meat is also served. Another detail are the diverse signs located along the facility remembering us why and how ewe must care of Nature.

enjoying the water. Yes, it was pretty cool, but the sunlight kept me warm.

Despite that wonderful offer, Cascapampa's Coppers  do not appear clearly  mentioned on  a touristic catalogue. I learned about them because  the girlfriend of my friend  told us about the place.

Although there are many posts in Facebook, it is not possible to determine what fanpage or account is official. Inclusive the nearby Temple of Jaguars, at Mitupampa Community, is better marked, what remembers me it could be my next story when I return to the zone.

If you have no own car, you have to arrive into Huancabamba City, and rent a private service of transportation (driver is included) costing 80 soles or about 25 dollars (actual conversion), guaranteeing you a round trip.

Getting apart that apparent miscare, Cascapampa's Coppers are part of that paradise  you ever dream of, provocating you to jump excited.

FACEBOOK: Look and comment on the whole Ronald's pics at Cascapampa's Coppers.

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