July 15th Ecuador

by - July 17, 2018

We did a little research regarding hiking the Imbabura volcano and came up with little information.  We decided we would hike as much of it as we could.  The true summit requires a guide.  Camping is permitted so we decided we would spend the night up there.  We went to Cosecha Coffee Shop and had some really tasty breakfast bagel sandwiches and cappuccinos.  It is always obvious when a restaurant is owned by an American because they know just how we like our food.  Then we ordered some sandwiches to go for dinner at camp.  We also stopped and bought some other snacks and water.  We took a bus from Otavalo to Ibarra, which took about 45 minutes.  Then we took a taxi to the edge of a town called La Esperanza where we could ride in the back of a truck to get to the trailhead.  It was a long ride up and we were thinking about how we would have to walk it down the next day.  Even the ride in the truck had the most beautiful views.  As we started the hike, the trail was immediately steep.  We had to walk up the entire thing on our toes.  We ate wild blueberries along the way and stopped very often to rest.  The high elevation is making it very difficult to catch our breath.  The summit is higher than all the US peaks in the lower 48.  We pass about 7 people going down on our way up.  They all seem to be locals and one group even has a toddler.  I cannot imagine doing this with a kid.  After about 2 tiring hours we see a spot that has previously been used for camping.  As we look up the volcano we cannot see anywhere else that is flat so we decide to take it.  Later we find out there is another area flat enough to camp further up.  We set up our tent in the whipping winds and added every layer to our bodies that we could.  We then hiked up to a nice viewpoint and enjoyed a beer.  Then we warmed up in the tent for a while (me longer than Bart).  The view was wonderful and we had a rainbow in front of us the whole afternoon.  Sometimes it was even a double rainbow.  It was misting on and off as the clouds came and went.  We watched the sunset and then went to bed around 8 PM.  We planned to wake up early and hike to the first summit about 45 minutes up.  Then plans changed...

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