Friday, August 18, 2017

16 south of the Equator – the volcano, the rainbow, the horses and the sparkling wine by the fireplace

Well, I guess I said it all with the title, right? LOL. But yeah, our second hike, after having a rest at the lodge, was fantastic! The wind had kept blowing, and it looked like Cotopaxi volcano was finally peeking from among the cloud cover! We grabbed our backpacks, and headed south on the path towards our elusive volcano.

I thought the views were, frankly, incredible. The path ahead snaking its way into the distance, the snow-covered Cotopaxi constantly appearing and disappearing, the wind... Of course, we reached a spot where the habibi felt "this is the place" and he took out his Butoh gear and started doing some improvisations...

By this point, we realized that there was a clear pattern to the cloud cover of Cotopaxi. The wind blew consistently in one direction. The conic volcano was sort of working as a wedge, leaving just one angle of it cloud-free. But the currents met on the other side, curled up, and pushed the clouds back in an arch, basically creating a window from which you could see Cotopaxi. Stunning. 

Having understood that, we pressed on further ahead, hoping to get as close to the "window" as we could. 

Our reward? Not only better views of the volcano but, thanks to the humidity in the air and the abundant sun, we saw a rainbow! by the frigging volcano! This was just too good! A full arch, extending from the side of the volcano! How's that for a surprise? We had come for crystal clear views of Cotopaxi, but I can honestly say I enjoyed more this dramatic weather-intense experience!

Alas, we had do hike back. The sun set terribly early – 6pm! – and it would be a pitch dark night, as it was a new moon. On the way back, already having had a volcano and a rainbow, I paid a bit more attention to the ground, which was covered in some kind of strange whitish dry fungus or plant. And in the distance? Herds of wild horses! Yes, wild horses!

Back at the lodge we had dinner, we looked at the light the city of Quito created in the distance, made sure the fireplace had plenty of wood to burn, toasted with sparkling wine we got in Quito to 16 years of being together, and had some good fun. Perfect way to end an amazing anniversary day.

Here's a stitch-together of the videos I took during this hike. What an incredible place. What an incredible day. And to think that we still had another full and a half day coming...