Vegetables and volcanoes
Jul 28, 2012
Up at 6:00 Am to a light rain. Alice had schedules a horse ride so we put on our waterproofs and walked down to the barn. Teddy, from New York, who spends summers at the inn, was saddling the horses. After a bit of a struggle, and with Alice's help, he got them saddled and off they road. About a half hour in the rain with a bit of cantering involved.
After the ride Alice and a couple of the kids from Poland milked the inn's cow and collected about a dozen eggs from the chickens. We took them up into the kitchen then had some breakfast. After a hurried meal we got on the bus and drove into the rian.
The visibility was very low - couldn't even see the other side of the valley. What I could see was a steep drop down into mist and though that if we went over the edge we'd roll forever... But we didn't.
After a bit we stopped in at a wholesale produce market - lots of strange fruits and vegetables as well as familiar ones. People carrying huge sacks of things and loading trucks full of things - perhaps to take to the city to resell. ALice say an ice cream vendor, ordered a cone, and found that it was just whipped cream in a cone.. Still OK.
Back on the road and the rain stopped - or became intermittent. We stopped in at a couple gas stations for toilet breaks. Then we approached Cotopaxi Park - a huge active volcano that is 19,000 feet high. In the 1940s there was an eruption that sent a mud slide fifteen miles down hill and destroyed a small town. They rebuilt it and now it's a city. We drove through some road cuts where you could see successive layers of ash from eruptions over the years.
As we got closer to the park everything was ash - lots of plants growing in it, but clearly ash. The road to the park was ash as well with small rocks which got larger as we approached the volcano.
Luckily the clouds had cleared up pretty much and we could see the snow covered peak. We parked at 12,000 feet next to a glacial lake - Limpiapungo - located in the middle of a 100,000,000 year old caldera. It was cold and windy with occasional rain but about ten of us decided to follow the guide and take the 1 1/2 hour hike around the lake. The wind was whipping and the ash was blowing. We saw some interesting high altitude plants and a couple birds... Four people turned back but the rest of us trekked on. Quite the adventure!
Then back to Quito and checked in to the hotel. Some baggage problems but not too bad. We went with "The Peru Crew" to dinner - the folks we had been with since the beginning. A nice meal and then goodbye...
We leave the hotel tomorrow at 4:15 PM on our trip home. Not sure how we'll spend the day...