Location: Andes

Thankfully today we were able to get some much-needed rest with a late start of 7:45, after our first night in the scenic Black Sheep Inn, located on the ridge of an Andean mountain almost two miles above sea level. Although we got a late start, our day was still packed with adventure and excitement. Starting our day on horseback, we rode almost seven kilometers up a mountain to a historic cheese factory where they showed us how they produce Andean cheese and mozzarella; luckily we were able to get a taste of both before continuing our ride. After about an hour of riding our horses on an almost non-existent trail on the side of a mountain, and a short lunch break in a clearing in the forest, we were finally able to see the Cloud Forest, a canopy of clouds covering a tropical canyon, a remarkable sight. For the next half an hour we walked/trotted on top of the mountain when finally our guide decided that we were ready to break out into a full gallop across the plain-like summit of the mountain. Intoxicated by our serene and picturesque ride, we didn’t realize that, like all good things, it had to come to an end.  As we stopped before our descent, the wind whipping in our faces, we were able to see all of the homes, villages, roads, and ravines below us; it felt like we were on top of the world.  As we started our slow, and yet exhilarating descent, we realized that this would probably be the last time that any of us would ever be so lucky as to be up so high, we tried to soak up all of the beauty that the mountains and canyons that the Andes had to offer. Although it is sad to realize that we will probably never be able to ride horses for five hours along an Andean mountain ridge again, we are excited for all of the other experiences that Ecuador has to offer.