We’re not really sure why, but Ecuador for us has been dotted with long stays separated with short drives. It could be the effect of almost constant rain, our need to connect somewhat deeper with the places we visited or even a feeling of safety and comfort wherever we went. Most likely, a combination of all of those…
Having left the Amazon behind, we moved south towards Baños but stopped a few miles shy of it, at one of the best campgrounds we’ve ever been to so far on this trip. Pequeño Paraiso was nestled between a great canyon and the Baños Highway and it provided us with more playroom than we could ask for.
Our camping neighbors repelled down into the canyon.
Tara is too young to be excited or afraid about such endeavors.
We occasionally hiked through the rain to the nearby waterfalls.
El Pailon Del Diablo waterfall in Rio Verde.
Having Tara is really like having a baby. We constantly watch over her, but sometimes she manages to find dangerous toys and hurts herself. It’s not always possible to figure out what happened. This time it was a scorpion she tried to hunt! Of course she got stung but somehow managed to survive the poison. Her little body is going through so much in terms of vaccines, poisons and digestion. She’ll grow-up into a tough one.
To our surprise, Ivan and Fabienne (the Swiss couple we shared our shipping container with between Panama and Colombia) showed up at the same campsite a few days later. Sarah had Ivan’s word for an interview so that she could finish the video she wanted to do about them. So here it is! The Blue Vision Expedition…
Marc and Sue, the owners of Pequeño Paraiso were definitely one of the most inspiring couples we’ve met on this trip. Once Erdem learned that Marc was making short nature documentaries in his backyard, he also decided to do a short about the man himself and his work.
As seasoned overlanders they outlined some of their favorite routes through South America for us. The energy between them is beautiful to witness. We felt not only at home, but among friends… Our last visit in Baños was to the local zoo. Being not too keen on diving and spending a fortune, we had decided not to go to the Galapagos Islands but did not want to miss out on one of our favorite animals, the Galapagos Turtle!
We followed the road south to Chimborazo, one of Ecuador’s amazing volcanoes standing more than 6K meters tall. Of course, our eyes and lungs couldn’t catch up with the ascent fast enough.
Andean advertising at work! This huge land-art / sign will not only capture anyone slightly interested in buying trouts, but it also looks and feels like an Ed Ruscha piece. The semantic power of the word challenges the scale of the landscape. Certainly works better than the Holywood sign!
It’s neither a Llama nor an Alpaca. Meet the Vicuña! These beautiful creatures roam freely on the mountains near Chimborazo.
We finally get a glimpse of the icy peak of Chimborazo as the fog clears out briefly.
The vegetation stops and we climb above the clouds into an alien world. At this point, the signs of altitude sickness were evident. We started experiencing a slight but constant headache along with a diminished capacity to move and talk. We were not even near 5k! We descended as much as we can that evening and spent the night below 4K. Nevertheless, our sleeps were constantly interrupted by the urge to take deeper breaths and the headache was always there.
It took us a few days to normalize as we enjoyed yet another beautiful campground in Cuenca in the company of other overlanders. Arthuro, Becky, Spoons, Rick, Latisha, Fabio, Sandra and Felix were all great fun to hang-out with.
We’re leaving Ecuador behind after traveling and ‘living’ here for amore than two months. It feels like we’ll be missing it. After all, it’s Tara’s motherland…