Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Volcan Quilatoa and Latacunga

Another day, another shift in gears. Ishmal the owner of the Cuello de Luna offered me a ride to Latacunga yesterday. Today he said he had a tour going to Volcan Quilaota and we will be going through the interior and visiting some small towns along the way. It took me no time to say "count me in". The topping was he would still drop me off in Latacunga as it was on the way.

So off I went with ***Ishmal and Meike, Hanz (Germans) and Stephanie (Czeck). A quick side not about Ishmal. He is Swiss and came to Ecuador 35 years ago to visit his sister, and never went back. Got married, has 4 kids and a thriving life. His real name is Walter but about the time he came to Ecuador he paid a visit to a friend in Chiapas state in Mexico. This kids there did not like his name so they started calling him Ishmal for whatever reason. So he kept it and to this day everyone, including his family call him Ishmal. Freaking great story.

The drive was amazing, up and down mountain passes. The wild thing about Ecuador right now is that the president, Rafael Correa has a huge push on infrastructure. He as built over 5000km of road and wants to get 10,000 more done before his term is over. Everwhere along the way we were stopped for construction. It was incredible.  We arrived at Quilatoa and as is always the case when your up in the freaking clouds at 14, 000ft, it was raining. We started descending down the crater in a path that ran between tall carved out rocks, pretty impressive stuff. As we continued down (forgetting that we had to climb back up) we got under the clouds and the lake appeared. Not glossy green like in the brochures but impressive enough as crater lakes are. The hike down was unevenful except for the 5 of us acting like crazed japanese with our cameras. Oddly enough, each one of us had a Panasonic Lumix, so weird.

After hanging around the bottom and reading the legend of the Condor and the lake, we peered back up and said, well lets get it done. It wasnt brutal but it took about 90 minutes. I think I am finding my hiking legs because without racing I was first up by about 15 minutes.  Meike gave me shit because I looked like a goat on the trail (That will crack up my sister kelly). After a lunch of Potato soup and of course chicken and rice we drove back to Latacunga, stopping in Zumbahua and Tigua. I found my way to Hostel Tiana, even though they had moved, with the help of Ishmal, said good bye to everyone and checked in. I went for a little walk around the square tonight and was surprised with a fireworks show that lasted about 30 minutes. I asked the owner of a local tienda why the celebration and he said something about it being a saints day, thats all I got.

With Ishmal heading to Volcan Quilatoa

Halfway down to the Crater Lake

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