Global: Session 1 - Darwin: Ecuador & Galapagos
Posted: Mon, Jul 11, 2011
Today started with a warm breakfast before the cool ascent into the Andes mountains. We bundled up and took an hour ride by truck to our first destination, Quilotoa crater. The view from the top of the volcanic crater warmed our hearts which really helped because the whole group was freezing in the high altitude. We continued to hike around the crater before descending the mountain. There were two options of how to get into the valley , either walking or sliding down on your butt. The temperature increased as we proceeded and layers were shed as we enjoyed the several breath taking views from our high location. We had lunch in a small village and proceeded to descend. Once we reached the valley we had a long trek up the mountain back to our lodgings at the black sheep inn. A group of us took a truck back but a few kept hiking up the mountain. The long walk was worth the sense of accomplishment once we reached the top. From there we proceeded to take advantage of the black sheep’s sauna and hot tub. A brave few decided to use the water slide into the freezing lake before running up hill to the warmth of the hot tub. After dinner a small dance party was had in order to celebrate our closeness after the three weeks we’ve been together. The days are winding down fast and the group continues to bond closer than ever.
Posted: Sun, Jul 10, 2011
Location: Black Sheep Inn
Today was a very eventful day!! We woke up at eight and had a special pancake breakfast with this delicious syrup! Yummy! After breakfast, we met at the end of the lodge’s driveway at 8:45 where we got our horses for the horseback ride! The horses were adorable! There was one pregnant horse named Maria who Carly had who wasn’t that nice. It’s okay though, because shes pregnant. A few other horses including Pinto, Bala, Trotsky, and Trojan were a little moody also! Pinto (Roman’s horse) was biting the other horses, kicking them, and pushing them out of the road! Oh no! And Bala (Meredith’s horse) was the smallest, yet the most aggressive and bit Trotsky in the hair! Ouch! Trotsky (Kelly’s horse) was mean, and a bully! Everyone did well riding their horses, except Anabelle and Rolando who unfortunately fell off at one point! Woopsy! (They are ok though! they both walked away from the incident and continued riding). Our first stop was the cheese factory. Here, we got to see how certain cheeses were made, and we got to try some samples of the final product. We tried some eight month old Emental cheese which was very tasty, and some mozzarella. After our short stop at the factory, we galloped to the cloud forest! Once we got there, we all ate our packed lunches and enjoyed the view of the valley with our meal. They were delicious! (except for Roman’s meal, which was consumed by his bag. It was smooshed to bits during the trotting). Soon after, we started our hike in the cloud forest. We saw tons of beautiful orchids, walked under the canopies of some very tall trees, and crossed small creeks with waterfalls. After a long scenic hike, we took our horses back to the Black Sheep Inn. Everyone’s eyes were full of dust, our knees were sore, and our butts were numbed after the horse ride, but it was so worth it! We spent the rest of the day relaxing with warm tea and coffee and donned our alpaca sweaters. Some of us went down around 4:30 to the yoga studio, where we watched some local girls performing a typical Andean dance. We all ended up dancing with in the end. The girls taught us well and we had a great time! Today was a soups awesome!
Posted: Sat, Jul 9, 2011
The Black Sheep Inn
Location: Andes Highlands
We woke up really early this morning to make sure we were on time for our bus that would take us into the Andes Mountains. The bus ride was about 5 hours and it was very bumpy, a lot of people did not feel well but no one threw up! We stopped half way through the ride to have breakfast. It was so cold when we stepped of the bus, we all realized then and there that we were no longer in the Amazon. We finally reached the Black Sheep Inn and we were all so relieved! The Black Sheep Inn is so nice and warm. It has a hot tub, sauna, gymnasium, and a yoga studio ( which would make my mother so jealous!) After we got our room assignments we all had some time before lunch to rest and explore the Black Sheep Inn. Lunch was so good and it was cool to meet the owners and hear there story of how the Black Sheep Inn came to be. After lunch we had more free time in which some people took naps, hung out in the yoga, did laundry, or went zip lining. Some people went on an hour hike in which they saw beautiful views! We then had Mexican Night for dinner, it was soo good and we got to meet the other guests staying at the Black Sheep Inn. After dinner we had our nightly meeting in which we had a Lifeworks discussion about integrity. It didn’t last very long because we were all so exhausted but it was a really good way to end the day!
Posted: Thu, Jul 7, 2011
Back to Quito
Location: Travel Day
After breakfast, we left the Amazonian eco-lodge and rode the canoe back to Coca. Once there, we did a little shopping and tried grubs. Next, we went to the airport and had out short flight to Quito. We had lunch at the airport, and ended up taking taxis back to the hostel because the bus did not show. Back at the hostel, we started packing for the Andes. Afterwards, we went out for dinner where we had a variety of fajitas. Lastly, we all took salsa dancing lessons.
Last day in Sumakalpa
Location: Rio Napo
We woke up early for a morning excursion in the rainforest. Our adventure consisted of tree climbing, wilderness survival, and fun (of course). We learned how to make blow guns, baskets,and backpacks. Also, Hector showed us a delicacy of the rainforest, lemony ants. After cracking open a certain plant, hundreds of ants came pouring out. They we delicious, but aggressive, and many of us ended up with bites on our tongues. Even after our impromptu snack, we needed lunch. Returning to the huts we had a tasty feast and then went pirana fishing! We caught two fish…. Thanks to James and our guide. Our night consisted of charades, bonfire discussions, and relaxing in hammocks. It was a fantastic last day in Sumakalpa.