18.10.2011 - 20.10.2011 12 °C
The best-laid plans can always go astray so now we find ourselves in the shadow of one of the largest and highest volcanoes in the world, Cotopaxi Ecuador.We were originally heading for Banos but the road was cut so the next bus was heading here and we jumped on. We finally arrived at the eco-lodge hostel hoping they would have a room and with a little bit of shuffling they squeezed us in thankfully. It was going to be a long road back if they couldn’t.
Cotopaxi stretches up to well over 5000 m and although the heart says climb to the summit the mind and body says different. It seems somewhere between 10 and 20 percent only actually make the summit where crampons and ice picks are necessary. We need to acclimatise again here for a couple of days as the altitude can really make you a bit ill. Any kind of exertion can affect your breathing where just taking a short walk can take a bit out of you. Our first day here saw us take the small waterfall trek which winds further uphill and through bush to a beautiful little waterfall with a swimming hole. Only the bravest of the brave or the stupid take the plunge as the water is absolutely freezing, fresh after defrosting from the snow. It goes without saying that the challenge was met. We made the trek with our guide Peter and about eight other brave souls and after about half an hour found ourselves standing at the edge of a ten foot waterfall in our togs just about to do the most stupid thing in our lives. I don’t know what was worse, the wait in the freezing water while some poor fool jumped or the plunge into the pool. Suffice to say I only jumped once but the boys managed a few goes before succumbing to the numbness. Matt even did the obligatory flip just to prove he was more manly than anyone else.
The following day we decided to take on the Pasachoa trek. Pasachoa is a climb that took us over 4200 meters and allowed us to see all of the volcanoes with a 360 degree view. The climb is pretty difficult without the altitude but when you add that in it almost feels like every step takes your breath away. We finally made it to the top and managed a few photos before we headed back down and a bight to eat. All up it took about six hours and we probably climbed or fell with style for most of that. The hostal had beautiful warm soup and bread waiting for us and after a shower we felt brand new. Patti hit the bed, Matthew took the walk to the waterfall again and has gone swimming and Brenton and I are veging out.
We haved moved further into the interior of Ecuador and have landed in Banos. Banos is a place the boys have been really looking forward to. We were in the place about 2 hours and they decided to jump off the Sanfran Cisco bridge. The drop is 120 meters.... crazy. Tomorrow its white water rafting. Andiamo