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August 9th 2011
Published: August 25th 2011
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August 9th
At breakfast no one wanted to leave. It was a gorgeous morning and with the peaceful atmosphere and wonderful views over the jungle, I could have stayed a week. But, sadly, it was time to get on the road to Baños. Six hours later we finally arrived to the smallish town, famous for its river rafting and cheap massages. In town we split up into our cooking groups (everyone on the truck has a responsibility and while we are camping we cook our own food). My group was just in charge of buying a breakfast and lunch for 2 days from now which we will eat on the drive to the next place. It is surprisingly difficult and stressful trying to shop for 23 people, buying things that everyone will like and estimating the correct amounts. But we succeeded and when everyone was done we got back on the truck to drive out of town to Pequeño Paraiso, our camping site for the next 3 nights. The campsite is actually part of a small hostel so there is a bathroom with showers as well as a communal area with a full kitchen and hang out space. Tonight we just hung out and played some games (uno, jenga, and spoons) which was a lot of fun.

August 10th
Canyoning again today! And it was more extreme than the little bit we did in the Amazon. We started off with two jumps from tops of waterfalls into their pools, one was 3 m and the other was 6 m. There was also a short zip line over the third waterfall and then repelled down two others with some climbing over rocks and through the stream in between the falls. There were some other small jumps where we could do flips, so of course I had to take advantage of that, and it earned me the honor of doing one in the background of the last group picture our guides took. Except the guy taking the picture wasnt very good and I ended up having to repeat my flip four times before he got a good picture. After hot showers and soup back at the campsite we hitch hiked into town and ran into some friends we had met at the Amazon lodge. They were going to the San Francisco bridge to check out the bridge swing there so we went along. It is similar to bungee jumping but instead of a bungee rope it is a climbing rope. So you dive off the bridge and then swing back and forth underneath until the person controlling a small lever lets you down to the cliff below. Four people from our little group ended up jumping right then but I was going to wait until tomorrow and jump with the company recommended by our hostel. When we walked back into town we met another guy from our group who decided he wanted to jump too. By the time we got back to the bridge I had decided to jump as well. When you stand on the outside of a 100 meter bridge despite the fact that you know you are tied in by ropes you still can only think about the fact that you are actually jumping off a bridge. But I did it, and I did it right. I had seen people kind of fall off the platform and then they had a bit of a jerk when they reached the bottom of the rope, so I made sure to actually DIVE off the platform and there was no jerk and the perfect rush of adrenaline. It was amazing! Dont worry mom, it was safe... kind of. But I survived and had an incredible experience. Now I will have to find a full out bungee jumping place. Overall a fantastic day full of plenty of adrenaline rushes 😊

August 11
We were supposed to go rafting today but it has been raining a lot so the water levels were too high, bummer. So instead some of us went into town to see about those supposedly good, cheap massages. The hostel gave us a recommendation and it turned out to be a very good one. A full body, hour long massage for only 25 dollars! And it was so relaxing, perfect after my crazy day yesterday. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, catching up on email, and even talking to Brendon over skype! After another delicious dinner cooked by our fellow group members it was off to bed for the drive tomorrow to the Quilotoa Volcano.


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