Sunday, May 5, 2013


Snow in Ecuador? Well yes there is! I even ate some today. Nicole, myself and two of our very best friends from Ecuador, Juan and Daniel, took us to Cotopaxi for the day. Cotopaxi is a beautiful volcano that is covered in snow. I asked Juan when was the last time it erupted and he told me that it was about 120 years ago. Apparently, it should erupt about every 100 years so it's due any day now. Luckily, it wasn't this afternoon.
We started out the day at 7:30 this morning when Juan picked us all up. The drive was nearly two hours and when we started to get close, they told us to let them know if we start feeling sick from the altitude. Luckily, we made it without any side effects.

The drive turned into a bumpy ride when we started heading up the base of the volcano to the parking spot. Everyone was dressed in their hats and gloves for the climb to the refuge that was part ways up the volcano. There are people who make it to the summit, but to go the whole way up, they need a guide to take them there.

We started our hike from the parking lot. It did not take very long for me to realize that the refuge was farther away than it looked. Breathing was, difficult, but we did stop to take a few breaks and pictures. 

 Meet Juan: he is actually the "ecuabuddy" that i was assigned before I even came to Ecuador and we've been close ever since.

Meet Daniel: he is Juan's best friend so I was lucky enough to meet him through Juan when he came with us to lunch one afternoon before the middle of the semester.

You probably know Nicole by now, but here she is anyways.

                                                                               heh (:

After about an hour of hiking, we managed to spot the refuge!

 José Rivas Refuge
15, 953 feet
Instead of just going in right away, we decided to hike a little farther. We made it as far as we could without needing a guide. The view was beautiful, even if it was hard to see through the clouds at times.


Thhheennn the snowball fights began:

Before heading back down the mountain, we stopped in at the Refuge to drink some hot chocolate and warm up our fingers a bit. As we were sitting there, I saw a picture on the wall that made me think of something that I didn't before: how did they build this up here with it being so steep/no roads/no ski lifts? Well, here's your answer:

I'm exhausted just thinking about it. God bless those hikers and their dedication.
For the hike back down to the parking lot, we took the shorter, steeper path that was much like the path at Quilotoa; rocky and slippery. It didn't take very long to get to the bottom but we were having a little bit of trouble with rocks in our shoes.

My lungs feel healthy after that hike. The fresh air was a great change from the city air of Quito and the snow actually made me miss not really being around for it this year. (I know you all think I'm nuts since it's finally going away in PA, but it's true.) Anyways, we succeeded in our climb to one of the highest points in Ecuador with great company and an excellent workout.

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