Location: The Andes
Today we took a loooonnggg hike; 10 kilometers! We began our ascent to Quilotoa Cauldera (volcanic crater)by piling in the back of an open truck, and it was quite the bumpy ride. After 45 minutes we arrived at the town of Quilotoa, and the view was spectacular. The wind was whipping, but it was worth it to see the beautiful lake surrounded by enormous mountains. After bundling up in our Alpaca sweaters and hats, we began hiking around the crater. When we all survived the wind blowing us side to side on the ridge of the crater, we began our steep descent into the valley. We were all slipping and sliding down the mountain made of loose sand. Almost all of us took one or two spills. After about 4 kilometers, we took a well-deserved lunch break and were able to enjoy our beautiful surroundings. Although we all wished to stay at our lunch spot for longer, we had more hiking to do! We began heading to the town of Guayama San Pedro and then found out how truly steep the walk into the valley would be. There was much more slipping and sliding, not even the side of the mountain could hold on. Part of our trail was blocked by a landslide, but luckily our trusty guide Nivaldo was able to help us safely to the other side. More hiking awaited us, and soon we had to begin hiking back up the other side of the valley to our town of Chugchilan. The uphill was brutal with high altitude, a beating sun, and all of us getting more exhausted by the minute. When we finally made it back to town, we were all rewarded with an immense sense of accomplishment and some free time! Some of us even took the opportunity to try the Black Sheep Inn’s zip line. After a long day of hiking, we’re all ready to hit the sack. We’re all looking forward to what’s in store for us tomorrow in the Andes.