Friday, 6th April
Early start to the day, met with Eran = our tour guide and his dog Jacob, who understands German and German instructions by the way at 6 am at the Q place.
Off we went, after an hour we reached Lloa where we started our hike. In total we'll cover 50 km in 2 days. It was great weather and I really enjoyed walking. We started at 3000 m and made our way down.
After about 2 hours we met a guy on a horse, he told us that the river we were supposed to cross was carrying lots of water, much more than usual, due to the lots and lots of rain. Didn't really think that much about it. At first.
Then we got to that river, after having mastered a few tiny rivers, which we crossed not problem. Then there it was. Rio Cristal ... or Death River.. as I would come to call it... after crossing it. We were there and yes, it was really wild, lots of water and really strong current. Eran went off to look for a good spot to cross, as there was no bridge, of course, why would there be with all the people doing the hike...
Eventually he decided on a spot, which had a wooden log more or less all the way across it. Honestly I think there would have been a better place, but who am I to judge... in Eran went, strapped to the wooden log with Jacobs leash, all went well. I was next. I jumped in, water was up to my hips, somehow the leash got stuck at a branch sticking out of the log and I was stuck too. Wasn't a nice experience as I couldnt go anywhere, the current was too strong for me to get a grip standing up and water was coming at me, at some stage my head was under water and I was slipping and I felt really panicky... I actually thought I was going to drown in that river.. hence Death River. Luckily Alan and Eran were there who finally rescued me, Alan by freeing me from that stupid leash and Eran by dragging me over to his side by my collar... lost a wellie as well to that river, same as my bottle of water. GREAT. After having survived we had lunch at a really nice field with lots of orchids and generally beautiful vegetation.
Oh, before we had lunch, Jacob also almost drowned and was also rescued by Alan. Hats off. Well done. Thank you. Muchas Gracias. Hero of the day :)))))) *lol*
After about 2 hours more we came to another river which we luckily crossed by Tarabita, a "manually operated crossing device".. it looked like a swing fixed to a rope above and you had to pull it back and forth. That was fun.
In the end we reached the place we were supposed to camp at, it had started to rain by then, as it does every day at the same time in the low andean humid forest or cloud forest or whatever it was. The family who were sort of in charge of the camping was waiting for us. Of course they had a dog and when we entered "his territory" he attacked Jacob, never have I seen a proper dog fight and I hope I will never see it again. It was horrible. At one stage the woman ran into their hut and came back out with a machete!!! I thought she was going to kill her dog, it was awful. Luckily she decided against it. Eran went in and pulled Jacob out at his hind legs.. the poor thing had 3 bite wounds and again it was awful. I was really afraid of that vicious dog. Yes, he was just defending his territory but still...
After that the family offered us their wooden hut a little below their hut or shed, as it was more like. We were really thankful as it was raining hard and camping out in the rain and mud would not have been fun. We put up our tents inside and felt a lot better.. for dinner we were invited for cebiche by the family which was really nice.
What an exciting day....
Day 2 - Saturday, April 7th
Another 20 km walking awaiting us. After about an hour the unevitable happened, we had to cross a river again and who slipped and fell into it?? YES, of course I did.. TWICE!!!! hahahahahaha I slipped on the stones and when I wanted to get up I slipped again...
Eran and Alan were in bits laughing and so was I. It was just typical that I would fall in... twice.. and not them...
After that kept walking, completely soaked. It was tough going as - due to the heavy rain - it was really swampy and muddy.. very hard on the legs. ..
..and of course it was harder for me as my clothes were just so heavy as they were soaked... never have I been this wet ... not even biking down the Cotopaxi...
But the scenery was just gorgeous, by then we had reached the cloud forest and it beautiful. Many rivers to cross, many mosquitos but it was all worth it in the end. Ended up at 1200 m and made our way to Mindo. Cool little place, really quaint... Alan and I were wrecked, I felt every muscle and bone in my body and was just achy but still, it felt great to have walked for 50 km in just 2 days. Dinner and off to bed. Stayed at Hostal Rubby, really nice.
Day 3 - Sunday, April 8th
Birdwatching in the morning, after hearty breakfast at hostal. Just a few meters down the road from the hostal there was this place where there was a back garden more or less with so many different birds. Saw Tucans, they are cool. Like them. And many more.
After birdwatching CANOPY.... 13 different cables whizzing along the cloud forest, high up, I think it must have been at least 30 / 40 meters above the ground... .. it was such fun... I could have done that ALL DAY...
After that off to Mindo town to chocolate factory. Quite interesting too and I really loved to see an actual Cocoa and Coffee tree.
Lunch and then got the bus back to Quito.
What an exciting weekend!!! Wrecked, tired, achy but happy...