Quilotoa Loop, Part 2: Isinlivi to Chugchilan
After a wonderfully healthy and filling breakfast at Hostal Llullu Llama, we headed out for our second day on the Quilotoa Loop. We had some directions from the hostel, which we had been making fun of the night before (with a guy who had just done the hike in reverse). There were many lines such as “take a left at the fork after passing several earth walls” or “when you see a small farm in front of you…” After starting out and making several wrong turns, we eventually found the “earth walls” and from there it was pretty straightforward. Oh, except for the “log bridge” that we thought was this one:
The directions clearly stated that we were to cross a “log bridge on our right.” Even the night before we were told that it was more like “a tree that has been fallen in the proper place.” However, after crossing this tree and following the path for about 20 more minutes, we stumbled upon a second log bridge, one that was much wider, seeming a little more like a bridge and a little less like a downed tree. Oh well, our way was more fun. You try doing this with thousands of dollars of electronics on your back!
The hike was easy and beautiful until the end when the trail took a hard upward slant. By hard I mean it was super steep and we were tired and just wanted to get there. Add that to the high altitude and goofy directions and we were about to be in bad moods. Luckily, soon enough we made it to the top and had a chat with a friendly local. He confirmed that we were going the right direction and that we only had one more hour to go. The trail turned into a road and soon we were fighting for space with the local motorcycles driven by small children (seriously…all the 12-year-olds seemed to be driving them…scary). We passed a school and bought some popsicles (every school has several weirdos in front of it selling candy and ice cream to the kiddies). Whenever we need a little boost, not much is better than frozen treats! Before we knew it we were walking up the driveway of our next hostel in Chugchilan, just under the minimum time that we were told the hike would take. 14km in five hours, not bad! We spent the rest of the afternoon resting because, man, that equatorial sun is killer!
To be continued…