|Squealer walks home with happy new owner|
|Several large booths of pirated DVD's.....if there's a guy down in front of the screen eating popcorn, don't expect a refund!!!|
|You pick the caption for this booth !!!|
|Ya want a cow foot???? We got 'em|
|Lil' feller on the left was ours!!!|
|Cindi ready to dig in....the guy across the table really knew his way around a hunk o' cuy!!!|
|Speed shopping, Saquisili style!!!|
|Recycled tires make great animal troughs....cool!!|
The bus dropped us off, and we started hiking up toward the crater rim of the ancient volcano Quilatoa.
|Friendly little pooch.......NOT!!!|
We arrived at the top at 3,900 meters (approx 12,800') pretty beat, and happy to grab a bed at the Hostal Cabinas Quilatoa.
|2 summits of volcano Illiniza in the distance|
|Joe standing in volcanic ash before heading down|
|Cindi helping out with routefinding|
|Looking back at slide path. Trail visible about 20% from bottom, slide in middle.|
After breakfast we hit the trail again, heading for the town of Isinlivi, supposedly about a 4-6 hour hike away. We had a fairly cryptic map, and all seemed to be falling together according to the route described.
A fair bit of downhill, some steep uphills, some river crossings, and endless forks in trails in farmers fields. Then, after about 4 hours of steady hiking, we started to feel that we were, to use the old phrase, LOST!!! And out of drinking water. Not good. We came upon an old woman tending her animals in a field down in the valley, and asked her how much further to Isinlivi. She looked a bit confused by the question, pointed to the ridge behind us, and said "4 hours, straight up". OK, this was not good news, at all!!!
But we had little choice. So we hiked up until we came to a dirt road above us, and headed up the road. Came upon a couple, who told us it was 1-1/2 more hours. OK, think we can do this....Then after 1/2 hour more, we came upon another couple. Asked them the same question...."how far to Isinlivi?".....They looked at one another, thought about it, and said, "about 20 km". Yikes....out of water, with 12 miles of hiking UP to go!!! OK, this was getting a bit rugged, not to mention very demoralizing!!! But without too many options, we kept heading up the dusty road.
Finally a pickup truck stopped, we hopped in, and 10 minutes later we were sipping a cold beer at the Hostal Lluu Llama, a homey little converted house in the tiny town of Isinlivi. Thank you Senor Truck Driver, whoever you were!!! All in all took around 7 hours, and when we saw how close we'd been, at around 3-1/2 hours out, well, it was time for another beer!!! And another 2 liters of water!!!
|View from seat of composting toilet|
The next morning we toured the little village, perhaps a five minute walk, and found a wood furniture building shop we'd heard about.
All in all, this was a beautiful trek through a spectacularly scenic part of Ecuador. Although the route does see a fair number of foreign visitors, the people here still live much as they have for generations. It is a tough, rugged way of life, but the people seem proud of their heritage, the children appear loved and well cared for, and we felt fortunate to have had this opportunity to hike among them. Muy tranquilo, absolutely!