Monday, October 14, 2013
Mindo Cloud Forest
Mindo was beautiful. It is a cloud forest, so it is like a preview of the jungle. We went on a two and a half hour hike through the forest in search of waterfalls. We were told the hike would take 45 minutes, but time in Ecuador makes about as much sense as Peruvian or Bolivian time. It doesn't. I am glad the hike took so long, though, because it was one on the most beautiful hikes I have been on. The waterfalls weren't huge, but many of the trees and flowers were unlike any I have seen. Even though it started raining about 2 hours in, we didn't really mind because we we already soaked in sweat from the hike and the humidity.
To get to the hike is an adventure in itself. You taxi 6 km in the back of a truck bed around windy roads with spectacular views, then you take a crazy cable car above the trees and across the forest to the trail. Normally, cable cars look like ski lifts and have glass walls, but this cable car is made of metal poles and is completely open. It doesn't look extremely sturdy, but reportedly, there haven't been any safety problems yet! I would have been too scared to look down, but the view of the tree tops were too beautiful to ignore. After the hike, we took the cable car back, but there were no taxis, so we walked 4km until we hailed the first passing car to get a lift the rest of the way back to town. When we piled into the truck bed, Martin made the observation that there was also a machete in the truck bed with us. Luckily, driver was not an axe murderer and we all made it safely to town. One upside of the rain was that there weren't many tourists, but that also meant there weren't many taxis either. We were exhausted, and didn't have a lot of options.
By the time we got back to the hostel (after three hours and two buses each way), I was so exhausted that I barely had enough energy to shower, pack for Cotopaxi, and make a fruit salad for dinner. It was an early night.