Kapoors Year 7: Europe/Ecuador/Peru travel blog

We Waited For A Relatively Clear Day To Ride The Cable Car...

I Felt Pretty Good Walking Around at 4100m, So We Decided To...

We Passed A Young Woman Leading A Baby Lama, The Mom Wasn't...

We'd Read That There Were Horses Available To Hire For Those Not...

When We Arrived At The Corral, A Group Was Just Coming Down,...

We Wanted To Walk, But Every Now And Then We Stopped To...

We Kept Hoping The Signs Would Tell Us The Altitude, But They...

We Kept Hiking Further And Further, But the Weather Was Obscuring The...

Our On Way Down We Met A Man From Singapore Who Is...

The Vegetation Consisted Mostly Of Grasses But Here And There We Saw...

The Clouds Seemed To Keep A Light Haze Over Quito, But The...


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BACKGROUND

Here is an excerpt from the Lonely Planet - Ecuador chapter on Quito:

For spectacular views over Quito’s mountainous land
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BACKGROUND

Here is an excerpt from the Lonely Planet - Ecuador chapter on Quito:

For spectacular views over Quito’s mountainous landscape, hop aboard this sky tram that takes passengers on a 2.5km ride up the flanks of Volcán Pichincha to the top of Cruz Loma. Once you’re at the top (a mere 4100m), you can hike to the summit of Rucu Pichincha (4680m), about a three-hour hike for fit walkers.

You can also hire horses, which are about 500m from the upper station. Don’t attempt the trip to Rucu Pichincha until you’ve acclimatized in Quito for a couple of days. Try to visit in the morning, when the views here are best; the clouds usually roll in by noon.

KAPOORS ON THE ROAD

We waited for a relatively clear morning to take the trip up the teleférico, and as it turned out, it was a Saturday. We knew that would mean local families might be out in full force, but that didn’t concern us because we planned to hike part of the way along the route to the Rucu Pichincha and we were pretty sure that most locals wouldn’t be doing the hike with their children in tow.

Signs informed us that the base of the cable car was located at an elevation of 2900m, only slightly higher than the bottom of the valley where El Centro is located. We stood in line to buy our tickets and noticed that there was a senior rate, so we opted to save a couple of dollars each. What we didn’t realize was that this also meant we could join the express line to the front of the queue. Sweet!

I was a little concerned about whether I could handle the additional altitude because in the past I had become almost incapacitated after riding the cog railway line to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado (4302m). For that reason, I took it pretty easy at the top station and walked very slowly at first. To my surprise, I didn’t feel much different that I did down in Quito, so we decided to start out on the hike and see how it went.

The air was very fresh and there was a light breeze blowing. We were above the tree line so there was nothing to obstruct the views of the city below us, and the volcano above. However, there were a few clouds swirling around the peak so we never did actually see the very top of Pichincha.

Before we knew it, we had reached the corral where the horses are kept, waiting for visitors who want to ride up the slopes. A group who had clearly had a very early start had just returned to the corral, wrapped in warm woolen ponchos. They were smiling so it appeared that they had enjoyed the adventure, or perhaps they were just looking forward to getting off the horses after a few hours in the saddle.

The path was east to navigate and there were several other hikers walking ahead and behind us. We met a few fellow Canadians along the way, and I was surprised to learn they were attempting the hike without spending any time in Quito adjusting to the altitude. Needless to say, they packed it in long before we did. I could hear comments around me, especially from some of the young adult tourists, complaining that they were ‘feeling the burn’.

I could certainly feel the low levels of oxygen in my lungs, and we stopped often to catch our breath and admire the scenery, but at no time did my quads bother me and I never had to deal with a headache or dizziness. What a relief. We are booked to carry on to Peru to visit Machu Picchu and I was concerned about the altitude in Cuzco. Quito is situated at 2850m while Cuzco is at 3400m. As if that wasn’t challenge enough, we are thinking of travelling to Lake Titicaca, south of Cuzco, and the altitude there is 3800m.

We kept climbing higher and higher, hoping that the clouds would disappear and give us a great view of the volcano. I kept thinking that we should just go a little further, a little further, but I had no intention of hiking the entire route. We just didn’t have the correct footwear or clothing for such an adventure. Shortly after turning back, we came upon a lone hiker and stopped to say hello.

We learned that this fellow was from Singapore and was on quite an adventure. He had started in California and was cycling all the way to Ushuaia, near the tip of Chile/Argentina. We told him how impressed we were, and he returned the favour. He was surprised to see people our age, this high up on the mountain. It was clear from our clothing that this isn’t something we have been doing all our lives.

We exchanged information about our mutual travel journals, and wished each other well on future travels. I was a bit concerned about his carrying on up the route, as the weather near the top of the volcano looked less than ideal. It was naturally much easier to hike back down to the cable car station, but I did feel my legs getting a little rubbery as we reached our destination.

I’ve been checking Jin’s blog for the past several days and I haven’t seen any new entries. I’m sure he’s perfectly fine and just busy seeing the sights of Quito, but I know I will be relieved when at last he posts some photos of his hike up Volcán Pichincha. I kept checking his blog and even a year later, there were no new entries. I wonder what happened to him that made him give up his quest, and not tell his readers why.

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scape, hop aboard this sky tram that takes passengers on a 2.5km ride up the flanks of Volcán Pichincha to the top of Cruz Loma. Once you’re at the top (a mere 4100m), you can hike to the summit of Rucu Pichincha (4680m), about a three-hour hike for fit walkers.

You can also hire horses, which are about 500m from the upper station. Don’t attempt the trip to Rucu Pichincha until you’ve acclimatized in Quito for a couple of days. Try to visit in the morning, when the views here are best; the clouds usually roll in by noon.

KAPOORS ON THE ROAD

We waited for a relatively clear morning to take the trip up the teleférico, and as it turned out, it was a Saturday. We knew that would mean local families might be out in full force, but that didn’t concern us because we planned to hike part of the way along the route to the Rucu Pichincha and we were pretty sure that most locals wouldn’t be doing the hike with their children in tow.

Signs informed us that the base of the cable car was located at an elevation of 2900m, only slightly higher than the bottom of the valley where El Centro is located. We stood in line to buy our tickets and noticed that there was a senior rate, so we opted to save a couple of dollars each. What we didn’t realize was that this also meant we could join the express line to the front of the queue. Sweet!

I was a little concerned about whether I could handle the additional altitude because in the past I had become almost incapacitated after riding the cog railway line to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado (4302m). For that reason, I took it pretty easy at the top station and walked very slowly at first. To my surprise, I didn’t feel much different that I did down in Quito, so we decided to start out on the hike and see how it went.

The air was very fresh and there was a light breeze blowing. We were above the tree line so there was nothing to obstruct the views of the city below us, and the volcano above. However, there were a few clouds swirling around the peak so we never did actually see the very top of Pichincha.

Before we knew it, we had reached the corral where the horses are kept, waiting for visitors who want to ride up the slopes. A group who had clearly had a very early start had just returned to the corral, wrapped in warm woolen ponchos. They were smiling so it appeared that they had enjoyed the adventure, or perhaps they were just looking forward to getting off the horses after a few hours in the saddle.

The path was east to navigate and there were several other hikers walking ahead and behind us. We met a few fellow Canadians along the way, and I was surprised to learn they were attempting the hike without spending any time in Quito adjusting to the altitude. Needless to say they packed it in long before we did. I could hear comments around me, especially from some of the young adult tourists, complaining that they were ‘feeling the burn’.

I could certainly feel the low levels of oxygen in my lungs, and we stopped often to catch our breath and admire the scenery, but at no time did my quads bother me and I never had to deal with a headache or dizziness. What a relief. We are booked to carry on to Peru to visit Machu Picchu and I was concerned about the altitude in Cuzco. Quito is situated at 2850m while Cuzco is at 3400m. As if that wasn’t challenge enough, we are thinking of travelling to Lake Titicaca, south of Cuzco, and the altitude there is 3800m.

We kept climbing higher and higher, hoping that the clouds would disappear and give us a great view of the volcano. I kept thinking that we should just go a little further, a little further, but I had no intention of hiking the entire route. We just didn’t have the correct footwear or clothing for such an adventure. Shortly after turning back, we came upon a lone hiker and stopped to say hello.

We learned that this fellow was from Singapore and was on quite an adventure. He had started in California and was cycling all the way to Ushuaia, near the tip of Chile/Argentina. We told him how impressed we were, and he returned the favour. He was surprised to see people our age, this high up on the mountain. It was clear from our clothing that this isn’t something we have been doing all our lives.

We exchanged information about our mutual travel journals, and wished each other well on future travels. I was a bit concerned about his carrying on up the route, as the weather near the top of the volcano looked less than ideal. It was naturally much easier to hike back down to the cable car station, but I did feel my legs getting a little rubbery as we reached our destination.

I’ve been checking Jin’s blog for the past several days and I haven’t seen any new entries. I’m sure he’s perfectly fine and just busy seeing the sights of Quito, but I know I will be relieved when at last he posts some photos of his hike up Volcán Pichincha.

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