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The One Where We Try to Climb a Volcano: An Adventure to Cotopaxi

A few years ago, my family and I spent a month traveling around Ecuador. We visited many different areas but never got the chance to explore the famous volcano called Cotopaxi. So we decided to start our trip in the highlands near Quito. Our guide, Daniel, picked us up shortly after breakfast and we headed to the mountains. The drive itself is about two hours but we spent the time talking to Daniel about the history of Quito, the way the school systems work, the reason people don’t paint their houses and how your license plate number dictates which day of the week you can drive. 
Cotopaxi National Park
Cotopaxi National Park (Helen Thomson)

We arrived at the Cotopaxi National Park where we began our adventure with a hike around a small lake, where on sunny days you can view the top of the volcano. This is also a good opportunity to adjust to the elevation and determine if you want to brave the drive and walk to the base camp at almost 16,000 ft. 
Cotopaxi Volcano Hiking Trail
Cotopaxi Volcano Hiking Trail (Helen Thomson)

I will admit that I had no idea that Cotopaxi was at such a high elevation. I am used to hiking mountains around 13,000 ft but this was still quite the trek for us. We only made it a small bit of the way up before deciding to go in search of food instead. The views from the parking lot were spectacular enough! 
Hiking Cotopaxi
Hiking Cotopaxi (Helen Thomson)

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