Cotopaxi and Overland group

Ecuador's flag
South America » Ecuador » Centre » Cotopaxi
August 3rd 2011
Published: August 25th 2011
Edit Blog Post

I apologize for the very long lapse since my last blog entry. I just finished my overland trip from Quito to Lima and it was full of incredible adventures! Since I am so far behind I will try to group my days together so I don{t have too many entries. This entry goes way back in time before I even met my overland group and I was in Quito on my own.

August 3rd
The hostel I was staying at, The Secret Garden, also has a branch near Cotopaxi so I spent one night there as my only opportunity to see the mountain. There was a bus from the Quito branch out to the Cotopaxi one and it was full of other single travelers as well which was fun. The hostel was a little group of red buildings surrounded by the mountains and with an incredible view out the front windows of Cotopaxi itself. The main living room as well as the dorm room were cute and homey and the people working there as well as out little group made the trip worth it. That first afternoon we hiked to a small waterfall where we all jumped ioff a ledge into the freezing water. Of course, being me, I had to jump in a second time. Since we were all wet and cold when we returned to the hostel a hot tub excursion was in order. The hot tub building has a slanted ceiling made entirely out of glass and faces directly toward Cotopaxi so the views are amazing. That evening we all gathered around the fire in the cozy living room reading and taking occasional photo ops of the gorgeous view of the mountain as the sun set.

August 4th
Rumor was that the mountain was clearest at 6am so I got up incredibly early and enjoyed the cloud-free view as well as a beautiful sunrise. It was crazy how quickly the mountain was covered up and within 10 minutes those just getting up had missed the view. After breakfast, 5 of us layered up and set off to the mountain to make the climb to the refuge located part way up. When we arrived at the parking lot at the base of the mountain the sky was crystal clear blue above us with clouds creeping in on both sides, very picturesque. The drive had taken us most of the way up the mountain, almost to where the snow began, and from there the climb looked pretty simple, just three small hills. We soon found out it was anything but that. We gained about 300 m in elevation (4500 to 4800) so just the altitude itself made the climb hard and then in addition the wind was cold and howling. I actually adjusted to the altitude pretty quickly but it was still necessary to stop every once in a while to catch my breath. We finally made it to the refuge and were rewarded with hot chocolate and delicious banana cake! As part of the hike we were supposed to go to a glacier but there was danger of avalanches so we just climbed a little higher above the refuge on the main trail. From where we were the summit seemed so close I wanted to just keep going, but looking at all the gear everyone hiking up had with them it was clear that the distance was once again deceiving. I would love to go back sometime to actually summit. The road back to the park entrance was all downhill so very easy on a bike, although the breaks were terrible since people use them the entire way back. Sadly, it was time to leave when we reached the hostel. Some of the others were staying another night but I had to get back to Quito to meet my group the next day.

August 5th
It was a relaxing day, I just hung out at the Secret Garden before going off to find my new hotel and to meet my group for the overland trip. My new roomate is another 18 year old named Brooke and it is nice to see another person my age! At 6 pm we had the introduction meeting and met our leaders, TJ and Izzie, as well as the rest of the group. There are 21 of us so I wont list all their names, but it is a good mixture of ages and nationalities. We had a dinner all together and tomorrow we leave bright and early for the Amazon!


Tot: 1.736s; Tpl: 0.104s; cc: 7; qc: 44; dbt: 0.0243s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 4; ; mem: 1.3mb