a view of cotOpaxi, the active volcano i Was supposed to climb - it erupted in fall and is cloSed to climbers
Today we had a down day in Quito - Bob got an audience with the Ecuadorian President and was present for the annual changing of the guard festivities at the Pesidential Palace , two blocks from our hotel.
I attempted my first "solo" climb, the mountain this time being Rucu Pichincha - 4696 metres or 15,400 feet. I took the cable car (Teleferiqo if you live in Quito) to the trail head at 3,900 metres (12,800 feet) and climbed the remaining 2,600 feet in 2.5 hours, even adding in some serious rock scrambling over the last 200 feet to reach the summit. There had been some reports of robberies on the trail, so I was concerned, but after some checking I was assured all was ok. I was alone on top for about 10 minutes until I was joined by a French couple who chose not to scramble and instead took the traditional route to the summit.
After that I ran into about 40-50 people on the trail as I descended. If you are going to do this climb, get to the Teleferiqo by 8:15 am, even though they say the Trleferiqo only opens at 9:00 - they were letting people on by 8:10 am.
1.5 hours down to the cable car and I was enjoying a salami sandwich with processed cheese and wonder bread at the top of the Teleferiqo. Lunch of Champions!
Right now we are trying to figure how to get out of Quito, which is no easy task. We are hoping to drive all the way through to Peru tomorrow, so we can't afford too many detours.
Before any decisions are made, a nap, shower and celebratory drink (in that order) are on the agenda...
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain