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Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

Wild Women

I recently went to Banos for the 3rd time.  You may have already read about my first visit with the sister.

During my second visit, I went with my friends Gena and Steve, who were visiting from the U.S. and England, respectively.  We did this:

During my 3rd visit, Maggie and I had a girls’ get-away weekend which involved a lot of good food, even better conversation, wine, watching Bridesmaids, hiking to some waterfalls, hours of pampering spa treatments, and this:

Because a girls’ weekend isn’t really complete without wrapping a giant boa constrictor around your neck.

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I just spent a week in Puyo, which is in the Amazon region of Ecuador.  It’s the provincial capital and a largish town, so I wasn’t exactly stranded in the jungle.  But when I wasn’t busy training 34 English teachers, I did get to do some interesting things in the rainforest.

I spent a lot of time just walking around – along the river, in a wild orchid reserve, on a day tour hike to some waterfalls.  I photographed a lot of tropical plants:

A couple teachers took me to visit a monkey rescue center one afternoon, and a White Capuchin fell in love with my colleague’s hair.

I booked myself a day tour.  This included a hike, during which we stopped to eat some live ants.  They taste like lemon!  They’re pretty tiny, so their flavor was more noticeable than any texture or movement.  But still, it’s a little bit creepy to eat live bugs, right?

I rode in a dugout canoe down the Puyo River.

And I visited an indigenous Kichwa family, whose gangly, awkward little baby parakeets completely charmed me.

And finally, I shot a blow dart.  Twice.  And it stuck both times!

Click here to see all the photos from my week in Puyo.

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I just got back from a week in the Dominican Republic with my good friend Maura.  One of the things I really wanted to do there was visit the 27 waterfalls.  So we did!

Step 1:  Buy a ticket, then get a life jacket, helmet, and guide.
Our guide was Gary.  He was great.

Step 2:  Hike for an hour or so through muddy forest trails to get to the top of all the falls (success!).  Try not to be eaten by mosquitoes along the way (fail).

Step 3:   Jump off some waterfalls.

Step 4:  Slide down some waterfalls.

Step 5:  Convince Maura the water isn’t as cold as it first seems and she will actually have some fun doing this.

Step 6:  Jump, slide, and wade your way through the rest of the waterfalls.

It was a ton of fun.  And as an added bonus, our awesome guide Gary even took some video of us going down one of the falls.  Vamanos!

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Hiking in Hatland

I went to Sigsig for a week of teacher training workshops.  This tiny town in southern Ecuador happens to be where the majority of the world’s Panama hats are made.  I enjoyed seeing indigenous women walking down the street with a handful of grassy paja de toquilla, or standing on street corners weaving the leaves into sombreros.

After my week of workshops, I stayed to go hiking in nearby Cajas National Park for the weekend.  It was lovely.

Sharon (Peace Corps Volunteer), Lauren (Fulbright researcher), me, and Lorena (Ecuadorian English teacher).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(This blog post is brought to you by the letter H.)

Baños is a small, touristy town at the foot of the Tungurahua volcano in the Andean region of Ecuador.  My sister Carolyn and I spent a weekend there, which wasn’t nearly enough time to take advantage of all the activities it offers.  But we did partake in a few.

Hiking:  It’s a gorgeous mountainous area, so we walked around it a bit.

Hot stone massage:  The thermal baths sprouting from the surrounding volcanoes have given rise to a huge, dirt-cheap spa industry.  We had 80-minute massages with facials for $25.  Luxurious, without the luxury prices.

Horseback riding:  I was shocked to find out my sister had never ridden a horse before, so we went horseback riding in the mountains.  As expected, I was sore the next day, but it was well worth it.

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Independence in Quito

Did I ever tell you how I spent my 4th of July in Quito?

No?

Well here, let me show you…


 

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Laguna Quilotoa

Some of my Ecuadorian friends and I were tossing around ideas for how to spend our long Carnaval weekend.  When the idea of going to Quilotoa was mentioned, we all perked up.  I met Cristina through CouchSurfing, and her profile picture is at the amazingly scenic Quilotoa Lake.  Based on that photo alone I knew I was in.  Happily, we all were, so we took a little road trip through the Andes, heading south of Quito.

We stopped on the way to explore a canyon.

When we got to Quilotoa, we were all awe-struck by the lake in the center of the old volcanic crater.  Even the locals who live there seemed to enjoy the view.

We hiked down to the lake, passing locals, burros, sheep, and other tourists on the way.

Then we hiked the trail back up.  A 400 meter change in elevation (1300 feet) is nothing to laugh at – that was a steep hike.  But we made it back to the top just in time to catch the sunset.

The next morning was sunny, making the lake even more spectacular.  The sky was even clear enough to see some other volcanoes in the distance (The Illinizas).

The lake is emerald because of all the minerals in the water, but the colors seemed to change depending on the light.  Regardless of the time of day or type of weather though, Laguna Quilotoa did not disappoint.

 

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