Monday, May 16, 2016

Cotopaxi Recovery Hike

We had a choice of activities for our second full day at Secret Garden Cotopaxi: "mountain bike" on the outskirts of Cotopaxi National Park and fish for our lunch at a fish farm, or hike to a waterfall.  We've been mountain biking in developing countries before and I hate to sound like a bike snob, but the bikes and trails are just not up to our standards.  "Mountain biking" in developing counties usually consists of bumping down gravel roads on Walmart bikes.  I was really beat from the big hike to Pasochoa the previous day, so I wasn't keen on another hike with elevation to a waterfall.  What I really wanted to do was go into the park and hike on the volcano, but with the recent eruptions, the mountain was closed to visitors.

We decided to chance it, catch a ride to the park, and beg to hike there.

 No sooner did we get to the entrance than we were turned away.  With the volcano periodically spewing ash, dangerous conditions could come over random hikers very quickly.

So plan B was to walk back to Secret Garden, a 7 mile walk with just a little elevation gain and loss.

A rather weak national park sign. 
 It was windy and chilly, but the clouds moved away to give us our closest look at mighty Cotopaxi.

Note the dark surface of the snow on the right side of the peak. That's ash on top of the snow.

Modeling his Cotopaxi brand bag with Cotopaxi in the background!

A runoff stream full of ash.

Planting potatoes?

Drilling a well?

Pasochoa Mountain, which we had summit-ted yesterday.  Because we came in at night, we hadn't seen the setting of our lodge. Secret Garden is the collection of tiny orange-brown rooftops on the slope of Pasochoa located just above the big white building in the center of the photo.  No wonder we were sore from that hike yesterday.

Cowboy Drew
 The hike took us a good three hours but we made it back in time for lunch.  The rest of the afternoon was spent taking in the glorious view from the gardens...  

 and from the hammocks.  We owned these two hammocks all afternoon.

Tired dogs.
And more "wildlife".
 After two full days in the Cotopaxi area, we felt tired, relaxed, healthy, and happy.  We both decided this segment of the trip was the best so far.

You might see this photo on our Christmas card.

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