After our wonderful retreat at the beach of Atacames in Northern Ecuador, I
went on another adventure. This time it was without any team leaders, but
just other fellows. As a fellow from the northern cohort of Ecuador, we
travelled all the way down to the middle of Ecuador, to a beautiful city
called Latacunga. There, we met some of our fellow fellows from the
southern cohort. Although most of us didn’t really know each other as we
just met each other for a short week in Stanford back in August, we felt
like we were long lost friends. It was so beautiful to see them all again.
That night at the hostel was full of laughter and story telling.
The next day we headed towards the famous Volcano of Cotapaxi. As we
entered the national park of Cotapaxi, we could see the volcano peeking out
of the clouds. We rode in camionetas till the parking lot and went on a 2
hour journey up to the refuge then the glaciers. Although the hike was
tough because we were 5000m above sea level, it was definitely worth it. We
made snow angels, threw snowballs at each other and took a thousand photos
while looking down into the national park. After our tiring walk up the
volcano, we headed towards Quilatoa to embark on our 3 day hiking journey
towards the famous Laguna Quilatoa.
Hiking to Quilatoa was long and tiring but also very enjoyable. We hiked
through fields and small communities before reaching the top of the crater
lake. We looked down into the laguna to see a few white dots, later to
learn that they were kayaks. After another 2 hour walk, we finally reached
the bottom of the crater and were at level with the laguna. After spending
a very cold night at Laguna Quilatoa, we hiked all the way back up to reach
the touristy city of Baños. Baños was full of life and foreigners. There
were many bars and clubs at night, while in the day there were many outdoor
sports that we could participate in.
After spending 4 days hiking and camping in the beautiful nature of
Ecuador, we got to relax in the beautiful town of Baños. However, that also
marked the end of our journey and we had to say our goodbyes to the fellows
of the south. Both the north and the south cohorts headed home and I
finally reached home after a 8 hour journey to be welcomed by the beautiful
sunset over the 2 volcanoes in my area.