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Published: August 7th 2009
Martin's head steaming after the hike to the refugio at 4,800m up Cotopaxi.
What a fantastic day we had on Volcan Cotopaxi :-))))) We left Latacunga at 8am (Ecuador is great, things work here, people do what they say when they say) to drive up into the Parque Nacional. When we got to the first stop - the museum, we were a bit concerned, it was misty, cloudy, raining and overcast but by the time we got to Laguna de Limpiopungo at 3800m we were above at least some of the weather, but the volcano itself was still not visible. From the lake we drove up to the car park at 4500m from where we had to hike about 1km in distance and up 300m in altitude to the refugio at 4800m. This is tough, at this altitude it's difficult to breathe, the path is volcanic sand and pebbles - deep and slippy in places, and the strong wind was blowing drizzle directly into our faces. We loved every minute of it but were glad to get inside the refugio for hot drinks and lunch. It must have been really tough for me as my head started steaming as soon as we got inside :-) After lunch we climbed further up to the snow
At 5,000m up Cotopaxi.
line / glaciers at 5000m, awesome. By this time the summit of the volcano (5900m) was in view, just beautiful - the white snow and ice against the blue sky. The hike back down is easier than going up but still pretty tough on the legs, which are now aching. On the way out of the park the clouds around the volcano cleared to let us see the summit. The perfect way to end a perfect trip.
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