How to be a Black Sheep

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December 3rd 2006
Published: August 7th 2007
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After exchanging numerous emails with Andres and Michelle we finally arrived in Ecuador and checked our messages to find an email saying "the sooner you get here the better" in our inbox, along with some bus directions to find our way to the Black Sheep Inn. The bus trip was about 6 hours half on a normal road and the other half on something that could only be called a road because cars attempted to drive down it!

The trip from Latacunga up into the Andean Highlands was bumpy to say the least but the views were amazing as the bus slowly wound its way through the mountains. The bus dropped us off just before the small town of Chugchilan, at the bottom of a pretty steep driveway, which we walked up very slowly with all our heavy bags to be greeted by Andres and Michelle from their treehouse overlooking the driveway.

After "getting the tour" and being shown to our room we found out a bit more about the place and what we would be doing as volunteers. It turned out that initially our job was going to be to try out all the local hikes and facilities
Around the innAround the innAround the inn

This is one of the many amazing views that you´re treated to just taking a short walk round the local area.
at the inn so that we could advise other guests about them later on. As there are plenty of worse jobs in the world we duely accepted and looked at the inn´s hiking maps to see where we would be going.

In Training...

There are no shortage of hikes and activities in the area around the inn but since we had gained several thousand feet in altitude since leaving Costa Rica we started with two short hikes first as we aclimatised to our new altitude of 3200m. The first hike we did passed along a ridge above the inn with fantastic views in all directions across the valleys below us. We also had our first encounter with the local dogs who like to chase you along the edge of their property barking hysterically but wagging their tails at the same time. The second hike dipped down into the bottom of the canyon and then climbed up onto a massive plateau of land covered with fields of crops such as ´Chocho´- a type of edible lupin that everyone seems to grow in the highlands. We chatted briefly to a local guy working in his field and sat dangling our legs
Cheap sunnys priceless view!!Cheap sunnys priceless view!!Cheap sunnys priceless view!!

Kev lost his real arnetts but managed to pick up some more for $6 in Costa Rica.
over the plateau edge, looking at the bottom of the canyon below as we ate our lunch.

Over the following two weeks of our ´training period´we tried to fit in the rest of the hikes listed on the extensive hiking map, along with mountain biking, horse riding, relaxing in the inn´s sauna, flying on the zipline and sampling all the tasty homemade food.

Additional photos below
Photos: 43, Displayed: 23


Taking a walkTaking a walk
Taking a walk

the area is criss-crossed with trails that the locals use for getting around and the tourists use for exploring the beautiful surroundings
Chilling by the canyonChilling by the canyon
Chilling by the canyon

took this one whilst we were sitting on the edge of the canyon having some lunch. not a bad spot really!
Out on horsebackOut on horseback
Out on horseback

Tash looking like a pro, hanging out with the guides!
The view to the pacific slopeThe view to the pacific slope
The view to the pacific slope

Where all the clouds are is where the last ridge line of the Andes drops down tot the flat plane to the pacific; we watched the clouds roll over the ridge as we walked, very cool!!
Don´t look down!!Don´t look down!!
Don´t look down!!

Some of the trials got a little thin, due to errosion and landslides. we still made it though.
Local traditionLocal tradition
Local tradition

Some of the local girls came to do a presentation of traditional local dance. They were very cute!!

We were there for Mapacha´s birthday!!!

5th April 2007

what an awesome place to see in the new year! i can see why it must have been hard to leave, amazing pictures x x x

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