Volcano Crater Lake Quilotoa, Ecuador (day 2)
May 27, 2008
|HIKING ALONG THE RIM OF THE CRATER
The next morning, after a semi-cold night sleeping at 4000m altitude, we woke up at 7AM to begin our 4-6 hour hike along the rim of the crater. To have energy, we order 2 sets of breakfast for USD 1 each at the hostel we stayed in.
Unfortunately, it was still very foggy, cloudy, and a bit drizzling. So we put on our poncho rain jackets and off we go. We went couterclock-wise around the rim (later we were told it was easier going clockwise). A stray dog that apparently many people in the village despise tagged along with us and it begin to lead us around the trail.
Hiking this trail was unlike any other trail we had in the past as we hiked right on top of the contour of the mountain with steep slopes or cliffs on both sides, like hiking on the rim of a gigantic bowl. All along the trails are beautiful wild flowers of all colors in full bloom as if we were hiking in gardens. The thick fog produces dews on flower petals, leaves, and grasses creating beautiful sceneries.
Due to the heavy fog, we got lost twice and went on short detours costing us about 30-45 minutes. After these mistakes, we realized that we should always be in constant view of the rim of the crater. The wetness also cause all our shoes and socks to be wet. Joani eventually resorted in taking off her sock and tied a plastic bag around her feet for sock.
The hike has lots of steep uphills and steep downhills often in slippery muds making the hike slower than expected. The difficulty and the fog actually added to the enjoyment of the hike as we don`t see the next hill until we are close to it. We feel like we were in sceneries described in Chinese Gongfu novels.
There were places were mudslide broke the trail and we had to carefully cross these paths without falling down the steep slopes.
After 6.5 hours with the children, we finished this unforgetable hike. Although the kids complained about being tire or having wet shoes and feet, they did marvelously well for a fairly difficult hike under bad weather condition. We are proud of them.
We were also so impressed with our guide, the dog, that we saved our bones from lunch and even not eat all the meat off the bone and hand fed the dog afterwards. When we left Quilotoa, the dog chased the car for at least 1km before the car sped away. It was very sad leaving this wonderful dog. We so much wanted to bring the dog back to China with us.
HEADING BACK TO LATACUNGA
By the time we got back to the hostel, the direct bus back to Latacunga had already left at 1PM. So we hitchhiked on a pickup truck to Zumbahua (30 minutes away) with kids inside the car and Jon and Annie in the back under the rain (USD 2 for all five of us). From there, we caught a bus back to Latacunga (USD 1.2/seat, 1.5 hours).
Instead of trying to reach Quito that night, with our wet shoes and feet, we decided to stay a night in Latacunga. We stayed at Cotopaxi Hotel, right next to the central plaza with one side of the wall all window with the view of the plaza for USD 21 for 3 beds with private bathroom. It is a very clean, nice hotel with towels, soap, toilet paper. Highly recommended.