17-May-2012 -- We bagged this confluence point as a side trip on a day's drive from Arequipa to Puno. Getting to within about 25 km of the confluence was surprisingly easy travel on the paved Interoceanic highway north of Juliaca where we should have turned south toward Puno.
The final 25 km was a considerable challenge for our rented Toyota Yaris. The dirt road headed up into the hills north of Lake Titicaca, which itself is at roughly 12,500 feet. As this was our first day at altitude, we were suffering considerably. While the population density remained surprisingly high, the road deteriorated steadily in quality. We took wrong turns a couple of times which added to our time pressure as it was getting quite late in the day.
At one point the road was completely blocked by an unloading truck, requiring some dicey "off-roading". The land in this area is intensively used for alpaca herding and we were delayed more than once by groups of alpacas and their minders crossing or using the road. At a distance of roughly 3 km from the confluence, further progress by our Toyota became impossible due to a stream flowing over the road.
Luckily, a friendly local agreed to help us cover the remaining distance with his small motorcycle, even though he was clearly baffled by the nature of our quest. The precise confluence required merely a descent of perhaps 100 ft or so from the road and the crossing of another stream and a rock wall presumably to control the alpaca. It was the return to our new friend and his motorcycle that was exhausting at this elevation of roughly 13,500 ft. The whole adventure consumed far more time (~ 5 hours) than we had intended with the unfortunate result that we required a couple of hours of night driving to reach Puno for the evening.