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Ecuador Seminar: Knoff and Team Depart Quito, Head for the Mountains

Today is the day we finally pack up our chubby duffel bags, steal some chocolate filled croissants from our top notch breakfast buffet and hit the road.   Quito is a beautiful city, home to an incredible history and architecture but it is also home to 3 million people.   Buses here burp massive diesel fumes imitating tiny volcanoes and the horns are not quite a song bird, so after a few days, the country is calling.  
On this note, our team all proved they are a timely bunch being packed and ready by 7:30, so we loaded Victor’s magic bus and headed toward our second acclimatization mountain, Fuya Fuya.   If you strapped a gps on crow and flew it to the mountain it would only fly 85 miles or so but on the ground, that distance took three hours or cover.  Upon arriving in the small town of Otavalo, our bus head upward into the hills on old cobble stone roads, similar to what you would find in Europe.   Halfway to the trailhead we were stopped by a child no older that seven who had a rope tied across the road.  In a fantastic show of entrepreneurship, he engaged those tiny arms, pulled the rope tight and forced the bus to a surprised halt.  Out of pure respect for the hustling toll collector we paid him his asking price and off we went.   
Where the road ends, there is a beautiful crater lake formed by the sinking of the volcano in its last eruption.  We parked, shouldered our light packs and made the two hour hike through interesting native fauna and steep grassy slopes to the summit of this 14,000 foot peak.  Being an adventurous crew, we then traversed west along a skinny ridge to Fuya’s neighbor peak providing some fourth class rock scrambling and enjoyable steep movements.   Unfortunately the clouds decided to join the party and occlude our grand vista of surrounding peaks and the deep blue lake but overall the weather stayed dry and warm.  
An hour long descent brought as back to the bus and another hour, back to town.  Our toll collector did not greet us on the trip down but his encounter certainly provide a laugh for the rest of the evening.   
After a nice lunch we landed at La Casa Sol or the sun house, in English, where we practiced some knots, ate dinner and enjoyed a good nights rest.  Tomorrow we move up to Cayambe where things begin to get a bit colder and more real!  
More to come.   

RMI Guide Adam Knoff


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