Showing posts from October, 2017

Chasing Waterfalls in Ecuador

In a country known as the land of the volcanoes with towering mountain peaks and deep plunging valleys, it was easy to find some waterfalls. I’ve been to Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall system in the world, so I was not that excited about seeing waterfalls smaller than Iguazu Falls.  However, several waterfalls in Ecuador have trails, so 'chasing waterfalls' was a good excuse for me to hike on the valley floor than a hike on higher elevation or climbing mountains. The first waterfall was quite small. On the way to the Mindo Cloud Forest, we stopped at El Pahuma Orchid Reserve, an ecological center, to see more than 200 species of orchids. As it turned out the orchids were not in bloom. The visit turned into a guided hike into a secondary forest (private land), a tropical rainforest with gorgeous waterfalls.  The walk to the waterfalls was short.  However, it was not easy navigating through the mossy forest floor and the short climb on wet and slippery pathways. Our gu

Ecuador: The Land of the Volcanoes

I did not have to scale mountains and volcanoes!  I was already at more than 9000 feet above sea level on most of the short hikes I did and the time I spent in Ecuador. I arrived in Quito in the middle of the night and the ride to my hotel took about 40 minutes. After a few minutes of flat road, our van climbed higher and higher and the hotel seemed no closer. I was definitely feeling the altitude during the ride to the hotel, so I popped a pill (Diamox). I awoke in the wee hours and had to get up a few times to pee. I had chills and tingly hands and fingers. I thought I was going to have a stroke. I may not have suffered from altitude sickness, but I sure felt the side effects of the pill I took to prevent altitude sickness. Our first day in Ecuador was an easy introduction, we went on an excursion outside Quito. We drove through a lovely road that wasn’t too steep to the Mindo Cloud Forest, where it had a few trails to a secondary forest and lookouts. We hiked to the lookout wh