I'm just going to talk about the experiences from these photos in order of least exciting to most exciting!
For a field trip in my Ecuadorian art class, we took a day trip back to Lake Quilotoa by tiny school bus. The trip was long and a little cramped, but still the lake is a beautiful thing to see every time. We had some more time to walk around the top rather than walking down to the shore. We're still not completely sure why we went because we didn't end up seeing much art, but I guess the lake was inspirational.
One weekend a couple other girls and I went to attempt a small, and very flat, trek between the outside of Mindo to a town called Lloa. Due to a lack of being familiar with maps and the generally soaking wet nature of April in Ecuador (especially in a cloud forest), we changed our plans a bit and started from a very sketchy bride that a truck brought us to outside of Mindo. From there, we hiked along the large river during the sunny morning, and then the clouds started coming in. We had to walk with our shoes completely submerged in the little rivers that feed into the big one from the surrounding jungle hills. Then it began to rain...and rain...and rain some more. This wasn't that big of a deal for four tough women, but the surrounding fields were absolutely saturated and looking for a campsite that wasn't drenched in 6 inches of water seemed less and less possible. Eventually we arrived to a point where the trail became blocked off by a large rock wall and crossing the river was necessary. Unfortunately, the ropes and basket that were supposed to be there to help us get across the raging river did not exist, so we headed back on the trail to a seemingly empty hacienda that we had passed 2 hours earlier. When we got there, there was no one around, but we decided to camp on the open raised wooden floor of the building so we could have some shelter. Then the caretaker of the hikers hostel came back from tending to the cows and let us stay in one of the rooms for a couple dollars. We cooked our camp food by the light of a candle we found and had a mellow night.
The rest of these pictures are from a trip to a small city called Tena, and a small town called Misahualli. It is a little far from Quito because it is on the edge of the Amazon. We spent the day interacting with the monkeys that hang out in the middle of town, taking food from tourists and playing with the local stray dogs. We also did some tubing and took a tour of some amazing caves where we dipped into the water and sat in complete darkness. It rained all of Saturday evening so we hung out in our hostel room with no wifi. How lucky it was that we went to the Amazon that weekend because that night, when we were completely out of communication and far from the coast of Ecuador, the earthquake happened. We woke up the next morning to some very worried families/host families/and program directors. We made it home safely and soundly, not even aware of the massive destruction that some of our fellow IESers were living through. I am still so thankful that we happened to decide on the jungle destination, and that everyone else got out ok.
More Blogs From This Author
<div>My name is Chloe Trifilio. I am an Environmental Science student with a minor in Recreation at Ithaca College in New <span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em;">York, but for one semester I will be studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador! I am originally from the great state of Vermont </span><span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em;">where I love to hike, bike, climb, kayak and generally explore the Green Mountains. I am also on the Ultimate Frisbee </span><span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em;">team and I'm very excited to see how Ecuadorians get down on the field. I hereby promise to use this blog to show </span><span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em;">everything that I see and do in Ecuador, which will include climbing, playing frisbee, exploring the city and a trip to the </span><span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em;">Amazon!</span></div>