17.11.2013 - 17.11.2013
The final fun activity in Ecuador got me high as I'd ever been - to base came at Cotopaxi.
We jumped on a bus to Quito, but jumped off half-way at the Cotopaxi national park. As we'd hoped, a few cars were sitting there, waiting for tourists like us who didn't want to pay the fees of tour companies, and were doing it on the cheap.
Jack bargained with the men until one have us a good price, a French woman joined us to make a group of four, and we started heading up. We even got another two keen tourists on the way up who sat in the trailer.
The journey up gave incredible views of the volcano:
Eventually, we got to 4,500, and then it was time to start walking ourselves. Naturally, being with Jack and Justin, the easier route was never considered and we began the hard slog up the shorter, steeper option. The refugio sat at about 4,800, and although just 300 metres up, it was hard work, taking more than half an hour with many stops along the way!!
I decided to stop my climb there, but the guys continued on, reaching more than 5,000 metres. Justin tells me his fingers started tingling at that altitude!
Jack even bought some of the glacier back down for me to see.
This became a little unnecessary though.
As we started the journey down, large hail hit us, causing Jack to cover his head with his bag. At the bottom, we realised our driver wasn't back - how did we get in the car and escape the storm? Fortunately, Justin found an open window, sticking his arm inside, and getting us comfortably undercover. But not until we'd had a little fun:
I didn't envy the two in back at this point - I was freezing inside the car with the heater on!!
Can you tell the difference of the snow line in my later picture??