Ecuador is amazing – yesterday we were playing disc on the beach in the scorching sun and today we are hiking mountains in the cold wind. Yesterday we were in the "banana capital" and we definitely agree with the locals that the name does justice to Machala. I have never seen so many banana trees in my life. The nearby beaches had the samba music pumping and were all around great. But we are running out of time so we headed north to Banos.
Here in Banos, the first thing that sparked our attention was the active volcano next door that is continually spewing ash and (sometimes) lava. We definitely had to set out and climb it. They advise not to go past the refuge which takes 6 hours to get to. We are in pretty good shape and hiked up to it in 3 hours. Unfortunately by that time the wind was so strong and it was so cold that we decided to turn back.
What we really wanted to feel were the apparent tremors that exist when that far up the volcano. I am pretty sure I heard them but it could have been the wind. It was pretty cloudy out so it wasn’t apparent that we were climbing anything other than a mountain. I think the best part was finding this gutted cow carcass. It was basically just skin and a head. After the initial shock of finding such a thing laying on the path, we spent about half an hour poking and prodding (to expand our biological knowledge of course).
Tomorrow we are signed up for some river rafting (class 3 & 4). As long as we don’t suffer the same fate as Christie and Amie, we should be fine. However, we are hoping to get hurt enough to make a good story of it. Ryan says he wants to wet himself with fear. I want to be there to see it all!