Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 7 - The Cloud Forest

We said good bye to Quito for 2 weeks, and traveled West to the cloud forest. We first stopped at a volcanic crater, the only one in the world where people have built a settlement. It is called Pululahua Volcano Crater.
Students taking a "selfie" at the crater...

After a short hike to see the crater (and yes, I did take a selfie with the "crater" in the background...) we got back on the bus for another hour drive to our hiking spot. We stopped at the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve. We saw several different kinds of orchids, some insects and lots of other native plants. We got another awesome surprise - a giant waterfall!!!! It seemed about 30 feet high with very strong water.

 After the hike, we rode to our hotel. Sachatamia in Mindo, Ecuador, for lunch and an afternoon excursion.  We rode the bus to an archeological site of the Yumbo native people and saw some hieroglyphics and stone ceremonial baths on the grounds near Tulipe. We learned about what the symbols mean and a little about the customs of these people (run out of the area by the Spanish invaders around the 1600s). We were followed by some local dogs that wanted to follow the bus back to the hotel.

It was a calm night, just eating supper (yeah - some celery soup and spaghetti) and hanging out in the lodge. Some were on their iPhones with the Wifi, others read, played pool, etc.  Relaxing evening, but we have to get up for breakfast at 7:00 for our 8:00 hike around the grounds.
(Adam and Brianne trying out for the PGA - pool game academy)

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