This past week was filled with parks and reserves, hiking, and taking in the diversity of species and surroundings. Our Wildlife Conservation and Management class took a field trip to Maquipucuna Nature Reserve, a cloud forest located about an hour north of Quito. There, we took several hikes observing the stark differences between the secondary and primary forests. Much of the land there was previously under agricultural production as sugar cane farm plantations. It has been fallow land since the 1970s though, and therefore forests have begun to regenerate. It was our first class field trip and a wonderful way to kick off the course module. I’ve quickly learned here in Quito that my days are limited. Since we are only here for about three more weeks until we head out to the Galápagos, some friends and I decided to take advantage of the time.
After our trip to Maquipucuna, several of us headed south early Saturday morning for Parque Nacional Cotopaxi. Cotopaxi is Ecuador’s second tallest volcano, standing at 19,347 feet (5,898 meters). That night, we stayed in a quaint town called Latacunga, situated in between Cotopaxi and our next destination. Our hostel exceeded our expectations as we met people from all over—New Zealand, Germany, Spain, and Brazil. We headed over to Quilotoa Laguna bright and early on Sunday morning. This phenomenal formation is a lake situated inside of a caldera. The lake formed after a volcano crater collapsed in on itself, and rain and snowmelt gradually filled the caldera. The caldera's circumference measures about 10 kilometers wide and is 3 kilometers at its widest point across. All in all, the weekend trip was filled with wonderful experiences and has made me eager to explore more around places around Quito in the future.
*Note: My computer's hard drive was having issues, so when I say "this past week," I'm referring to a couple of weeks ago.
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<div>Hi there all! My name Julian Garcia and I was proudly born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. I am in my senior year at Cornell University studying International Agriculture and Rural Development with interests in sustainable cropping systems and economic development. In my free time, you can find me hiking in the Adirondacks, spelunking 100 feet underground in a cave, trying to cook up something tasty, or reading a Hemingway novel. I hope you enjoy the blog!</div>