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Hello hello hello hello hello hello...

ECUADOR | Tuesday, 9 November 2010 | Views [1456] | Comments [2]

Hello hello hello hello hello…that’s the echoing sound I’m making from the top of an Andean mountain! We have arrived to Otavalo, Ecuador and it is awesome! Otavalo is a relatively well developed town of 30K people, sitting at around 8400ft. elevation…we are surrounded on all sides by massive volcanoes…ranging from 11,000ft. to over 15,000ft! You know me, being a Colorado kid, I am in heaven here. Honestly, just the idea that I’ve been hiking, biking and otherwise cruising around the Andes is just awesome.

Quick note about how we got here…after Bogota, Colombia…we took a bus to Cali, Colombia…Cali is known as the Salsa dancing capital of Colombia…so we took a salsa class! It was cool. Salsa is not super complicated, so we definitely know all the steps now…just gotta practice making it look good ;) We also did a nice hike in Cali, up a hill just on the edge of town, where they have built 3 giant crosses…turned out to be much more a workout than expected, so that was cool.  Besides that, Cali was not my favorite town, it was very crowded, tons of traffic and so much smog it would give me a headache. We did take a day trip to a village called Pueblo Pance, along the Pance river and at the entrance to Reserva Natura Anahuac…we hiked around in the park for a couple hours and at one point came to a home-made bridge that we must use to cross the river…were talking something right out of Indian Jones, basically bamboo tied together with wire…Sophia almost didn’t make it…but after 3 tries, we were on the other side. You’ll have to check out the video (I’ll get it up on the youtube channel asap). Being out there in nature that day really reminded us that we have been visiting too many big cities and need to get back out into nature…and so, now where here in Otavalo.

Today is our third day full day here and we have definitely been staying busy…our days are full with activity and our evenings have been spent sitting around a real wood community fireplace here at the hostel. Our first day was the mountain biking trip…mostly downhill, they drove us to Cuicocha lake, an amazing crater lake with a big island in the middle, at 3800 meters. We rode downhill through 4 small indigenous villages, stopping for historical lessons from our local guide and a bit of sampling of native foods grown here. Only bummer was when the rear derailleur broke off my bike and lodged itself in the back wheel…I came to a stop with a quickness…good thing it was downhill at that point as the guide was able to nurse the bike to next town and use the phone to call for a back up bike to be delivered. After about an hour of r&r we were back on the road. The ride ended back in Otavalo at around 2500 meters, covering a downhill decent of around 1300 meters (3.3 meters in a foot, in case you’re wondering).  The biking was great and were hoping to do another similar tour on Thursday, but yesterdays hike definitely topped it…Sophia summited her first 14,000ft. peak!! How cool is that! Actually 2 peaks, fuya fuya at 14,084 and it’s sister peak at 14,150. I was so impressed. We had signed up for 14Kilometer relatively easy hike around 3 lakes near the peak but as we drove closer to the trail head the guide started explaining that how on a clear day like that, the views from mountain tops would be incredible, once he told me they were 14ners, we were in. Granted, they are good “beginner” 14ners, we started from about 12K ft, so distance was not a huge factor, but thin air, steep terrain and rock scrambling definitely were. The guide told us that everyone chooses to summit the smaller peak but only half of the people choose to summit the taller one, mainly because of one completely vertical rock wall that must be overcome. So, as a confidence builder I suggested we do the smaller one first, although some clouds had rolled in by this point the views were spectacular. We then, descended the peak and hiked across the ridge line to the larger one. Here we found a group of German hikers making there way 1 x 1 through the difficult part, these guys were even using a rope (which we did not have)…rather than waiting for them, the guide took us around the long way up other side.  We scrambled up some steep terrain and arrived right at the top of the difficult rock face…a short climb from there and we were at the 2nd summit!   The way down was nice a nice adrenaline rush as we did climb down the challenging rock face (again check out the video on youtube).

So…that pretty much leads me to right now, laying in bed, writing this blog and trying not to think about the activity that waits for us in the next 2 hours…bungee jumping off a bridge! I don’t know how many of you have tried bungee jumping…but man, it looks terrifying! I thought I might wait to say anything until after we did it, but, I suppose this way, we will be less likely to chicken out…lol. I’m planning on jumping with the camera in my hand so I can film a nice video…assuming I don’t drop it in the river, you should have another nice video to watch soon.

Wish me luck!


Tags: 14ners, ecuador, fuya fuya, hiking, mountain biking, otavalo, trekking



OMG....who's son are you?? Oh yea....
Great blog Brett! Please be careful, I didn't realize what an adrenaline junkie you were! So proud of Sophia, she is a trooper for sure! Please be wise and safe!
Love mom, miss ya : )

  Mom Isis Nov 10, 2010 3:36 AM


Just decided....this week is the highest I'm gonna get this year....this adventure has hit an entirely NEW level....Ecuador will become part of you guys....and your lives....LIVE ON!

  Dad Nov 10, 2010 4:31 AM

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