so where, were we, oh yes, sitting high on top of a mountain, cold raining, sore, headache, but food on the way.....
after dinner, it was raining most of the night, it was dark, it was cold, it was wet, just everything you expect in the tropics of Ecuador, so the only thing to do, I was make my way back to the tent, crawl into a sleeping bag and hope for the warmth and a dry night (and really hope that I do not have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom). So, the night passed without incident and I woke to a glorious blue sky without a cloud in the sky and a snow capped volcano to fill the view, it was amazing, but all so cold. Boots were frozen, ice on tents and everything looked frosty, but other than that, everything you expect from the tropics. So, after a bunch of pictures of this beautiful location, breakfast was made, mostly corn if I remember right and coffee, again the coffee was quite needed especially since the body was having issues adjusting to near freezing temperatures. After breakfast it was time to pack up our portion of the camp and start the downhill trek to the Papallacta Hot Springs (with a few uphill portions just to keep us in shape), so from 13000 feet (thereabout), it was time to descend to about 9000 feet, with the tease of hot springs and a full day spa.
So, we head away from our camp down the side of a mountain, slipping and sliding and trying to keep the feet on the ground, for the next two or so hours we made our way through the bogs, the panama grass, sinking and sinking there until finally, after a final climb, we made it to an ATV track. Yes, a real road and this ended what I thought would be the most painful part of the hike. But after 4 miles or so of steep down hill on hard surfaces, very rocky, blisters and rashes caused me to slip way to the back of the pack and highly consider just sitting down and waiting for modern transportation. But none came and so the miles slipped away and we finally made it to Papallacta Hot springs and the hotel there. Like everything else in this area, little else was found here, a few buildings, another small hotel or two, but this was the reason people come to this location, maybe 90 minutes from Quito. The hotel was wonderful, a mix of cabanas and nice cabins (homes) with multiple pools all fed by natural hot springs about 102 degrees, a good restaurant (we refused a trout lasagna) and a day spa with excellent masseuses (and a 40 bucks a session, not a bad deal). Anyway, checking into the hotel brought the biggest downer of the trip, I was given a message by the hotel that my friend Karl called and informed me that my house had been broken into, but on a positive note, the last hotel was going to return my money that was stolen at their hotel. Of course, they had internet access so I also found out the stock market dropped 2000 points while we were away and we should have just stayed away. By after a spa treatment, soaking, good food, beer, wine and all, life is good and some things are just out of your control.
So, after a few more soaks and a few more beers, it was time to load up the van and head back to Quito. It was a stunning, vertical view heading back to quito and we were giving a tour of more of Quito than I had seen previously. Quito, has it all, nice residential, nice business, typical kind of middle class, all in all a very nice looking city. Very few scary looking areas. The big news dropping into Quito today was the Futbol game being played in Quito between Chile and Ecuador, I do believe that an entire town came to a stand still. It would have been fun to attend, but I am sure it was sold out. During the game, any place that had a tV was slammed, not just from the inside but any window was completely filled with people. Ecuador won, I was not out at this time, but I am sure it was insane.