Sunday, September 21, 2008


Yesterday (Sunday), I hiked up Pichincha, which is an active volcano just outside of Quito. I went with a couple other people (two Germans, the nephew of my host mom, and a guide). A driver drove us part of the way up, then dropped us off and we were on our way. Now, Quito is 9,200 feet (2,800 meters) and the main peak of Pichincha (Guagua) is 15,696 feet (4,784 m). We didn´t go all the way to the peak because it was all rock and we would have needed special climbing equipment. We did go most of the way, though, and stood on the rim of the volcanic crater. (There is another peak, called Rucu Pichincha. The Teleferiqo goes to 13,400 feet (over 4,100 m) up Rucu Pichincha).

This is where the driver dropped us off. This picture was taken facing South, in the direction of Cotopaxi. Pichincha is behind us at this point.

Rucu Pichincha. You can really see the vegetation starting to change.

As we climbed, the flora changed drastically. This was in one of the last zones. There were all these beautiful flowers growing close to the ground. There were other flowers: small white ones, larger white ones, ones with a yellow center and white petals.

Guagua Pichincha.

The main peak of Pichincha is just up ahead. The little yellow house is just a resting point. There is a man who stays there during the day but then heads back down in the evenings. We stopped in the house for a rest and to eat some food, which we shared with the man there.

Nearing the end...

This is the very last leg of our trip. As you can see, there are no more plants and we are definitely up in the clouds. The crater is just ahead of us, at the end of this trail. At this point, we were walking very slowly and panting. I had a bit of a headache from the altitude and my heart was pounding, but other than that I was fine. It was really cold at this point, and even with an undershirt, a teeshirt, a fleece jacket, a regular jacket, a banadana over my head, and a scarf over that I was cold. (Next time I go up, I am taking gloves. Alpaca gloves, if I can find some. Which I´m sure I can.)

And here we are, on the rim of the crater. To the left is the crater, to the right is the way back down.

This is on the way back down, again facing South.

Further down--notice how different it looks (ie, there are trees again!).


At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful stuff, great blogs.


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