'For Adventures of a lifetime'

Monday, 7 July 2014

Blog No. 10 - The Summit of our Challenge

(Ed. Sorry for the delay in getting this out folks...we have been on our travels and to a place where there is no internet.  I have had to come into the town of Puerto Quito to find some internet and send out the blog.  We leave here tomorrow (8th) for our Project in Puerto Lopez.  Hope everyone is enjoying the blogs...All is well in the camp )

Today was probably one of the earliest starts of the week and was not the greatest.  But sure it is World Challenge early morning never hurt anyone.  After we woke up and had what can only be said to be a fantastic breakfast.  From my perspective I’m just happy enough not having to be cooking the breakfast..  Porridge has not been everyone’s favourite meal on the trek but the amount of sugar, jam and condensed milk we put on it you can barely taste the porridge anyway. 

After breakfast it was an early bus up to Cotapaxi National park to do our last day of trekking, and to our highest summit of “ruminyawah” (im sure its spelt like that)(Ed. its not ).  It was 4631m but still looked like a child in comparison to the monstrosity that was the volcano Cotopaxi measuring up to near 5700m close by us. 

The bus journey was the usual “kaper” pardon the slang.  2 hour bus journey with our guides, stopping for food breaks.  Most people slept, listened to music or poked people in the head with walking poles.  All the usual stuff to be honest.

We arrived at the foot of  “ruminyawah”, at I have no idea what time but it wasn’t the ideal picture we all had in our heads for the day.  There wasn’t bright sunny skies, birds chirping and easy trekking ahead.  We got out of the bus with a wind that I suppose could only be described as cutting as it seemed to cut into your cheeks and the clouds just began to look ever more daunting with each passing minute.  We knew it was going to be a hard day ahead of us.

The pace started brilliantly, nice and slow (Ed. this is usual when trekking at altitude).  It felt nice not being completely sweaty and out of breath within 15minutes of the trek.  The usual voices protruded through the group (Cough Paddy and Lui!!!) with the usual, either trivia questions or people going, “dammit I don’t know who you are” 20 questions has become a popular game in the past 2 days while trekking. 
The higher the guides seemed to take us, it became clear everyone was coping well.  No feeling the altitude and everyone seemed to be working unbelievably as a team.  Breaks began to seem like they were holding us back rather than giving us breaks with everyone itching to get to the peak. 

We were almost there,  we had about 200m vertically to the top when we all began to feel a bit of dismay when we saw the sand and loose rocks . Why is there even sand on top of a mountain?  (Ed. maybe because we are on a volcanoJ). The soft surface was tackled and everyone made it to the last leg of out trek which was rocky scrambling.  In my opinion it was what I was waiting for the whole trek and was probably the most fun, apart from running down the mountain which I will get to.

We all made it to the peak, exasperated we looked round to what can only be said to be clouds and half mountains (it was a vertical drop the other side to where we had been climbing) , but in all honesty I couldn’t care less if it wasn’t what I pictured, but we had made it to the top safely and that’s all that mattered to be quite honest.

After that we ran down the mountain, literally, although it wasn’t as dangerous as it sounds, there was only rocks and sand to hurt you on.  It was great fun and possibly the highlight of the day.  We eventually made it to the bottom. It was pretty sweet we could see where we just came from.  The clouds did spoil the view of Cotopaxi, but this did not dampen our spirits.   There was an upside the weather was beginning to pick up. 
We made it to the bottom and hopped on the bus and made it back to our campsite which for the life of me I have no idea what its name is.  (Ed. Tut tut Cameron!) We have just finished dinner here, which was great once again because I didn’t cook it.  Sorry if this seems a bit rushed but we are about to go to the festival up the road and I really want to go.  I’m sure someone else can share the night we are about to have. Later and thanks for reading.

Cameron Powell

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