25 07 2012

I went to a rural hostel near Cotopaxi, a 5897m / 19,347ft volcano a couple hours from Quito.  Stayed a few nights to enjoy the scenery, calm and quiet, wonderful stars, and thin air for acclimation (the hostel is at 3500m / 11,500ft).  Shot some lovely photos of the Milky Way bright as the moon, illuminating the whole area.

I spent a couple days before that in Banos, also a couple hours from Quito, but lower elevation on the way down to the Amazon Oriente section of Ecuador.  Unfortunately it rained the whole time, so I didn’t take full advantage of all the activities there.  But they do offer canyoneering (they call it canyoning here), which turns out it about the same in the rain and in the dry.  Plus several days of rain meant high flow in the Rio Blanco, and extra sporty rappels.  This was great fun, really wet, probably a 4C-II in the ACA scheme.  I was impressed by the guides and their quick, fluid ropework skills.  They sort of led on that everyone would be on a top belay as well as rappel, but in the end everyone in our group was confident enough to need only a bottom belay.  Anyone with the chance to try this – don’t miss it.

More photos, as usual, here.



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