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high hopes, foiled adventures, and a volcano

Machachi, Ecuador

Cotopaxi National Park: Last Saturday, this was the destination of Felim, Phil, Mike and I. The park itself was beautiful; great landscapes, beautiful trees, and of course the view of the volcano wasn't bad either. However we had a few glitches with the weekend.
1) We hired guides through Felim's host family, and they turned out not to be the best. They showed up at our rendezvous about an hour late because they were chuchaqui.
2) The place we rented gear from was understocked (because of the great weather/climbing conditions) and we got the bottom of the barrel goods.
3) An extra guide and climber piled in our van to travel to the park. Normally this would be fine, but the guide didn't stop talking for the entire trip about his climbing triumphs.
4) My recurring illnesses decided to rear their ugly heads again and I found myself ill by the time we reached the park. For this reason, I decided not to go out for the ice climbing, not wanting part of the group to have to turn back because in my weak/ill state I couldn't manage the physical exertion of the hike.
5) 3 hours after the midnightish departure for the hike, the first of my group returned--Phil's boot was ill-fitting and digging into his shin, making the hike painful. He had to turn back with one of the guides.
6) Shortly after Phil's return, Felim and Mike were back in our bunks as well--Mike's cramp-on came off during the ascent. Due to the ill-fit of the cramp-on to the boot, it would be unsafe to continue. Alas, the rest of the team had to turn back.
7) Even without the equipment malfunctions, due to the high traffic of climbers this weekend, there were some traffic jams as the 100+ hikers and guides tried to all ascend the same trail to the summit--the crater--and reach this peak by daybreak (supposedly a spectacular view).

I think that's all. It's unfortunate that our plan did not go as planned. We went in with such high hopes and returned with our egos crushed, adventures foiled, and deprived of sleep. Overall, I give this weekend 1/5 stars (at least I had good company and scenery).

Upon return to Quito, I embarked on my next adventure: the hospital. I finally stopped being stubborn and went to get checked out--enough is enough. They were very kind and efficient, and apparently I have a bacterial infection. I'm on antibiotics now--hopefully they'll make me feel better. However all the tests cost a small fortune (Ecuador standards) so I've got to figure out my insurance paperwork so I can be reimbursed, inshallah.

Once I get some photos, I'll share. Until then, be well.

permalink written by  Theresa on November 26, 2008 from Machachi, Ecuador
from the travel blog: Adventures in Teaching and Living in Ecuador
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