Yesterday I hired a guide, Mario, to take me from Banos to Volcano Cotopaxi. We set out from my hotel at 7 and arrived at the National Park about 9. We looked at a small lake and then stopped at the visitor center for a few minutes. It was getting a bit windy, so I decided to buy a fun hat…the best $5 I have spent!!
We drove up to the parking area for the hike to Refuge 1 where it was much colder and the wind was so strong I could hardly open the door to get out of the truck. I really wasn’t expecting much of a hike since everything had been explained in meters 😆😆. Mario, growing up hiking Cotopaxi and the other volcanoes in the area, took us straight up the side of the mountain, skipping the trail. Wow, hiking straight up hill in gravel much like soft beach sand with the wind screaming around us was quite a treat, but the views were amazing!!!
When we got about 2/3 of the way up we cut over to the trail, Mario pointed out the group that left before us and said, “Look, we took a shortcut!”. Nice! When we finally reached the refuge, it made sense why I was breathing a little hard…Who knew 4,864 meters is 15,953 ft!😆
Amazing!! We went in to get warmed up for a few minutes and had a much needed cup of hot coca tea, a specialty here. And how cool is this? They even had a fun stamp to add to my passport to prove I made it!
After lunch, the driver took me to a cool little hotel in the country where I dropped my stuff and cleaned up. Afterwards, Mario took the bus with me to Latacunga, the capital of the Cotopaxi province for a quick tour and a fun drink.