What a fabulous day we had.  James Drummondo, from Fantastic Adventures de Ecuador, picked us up at Otorango Plaza at 8:00am.  There were only four of us going today, Debi and David Billings and the two of us.

It took about 45-50 minutes to get to where we were going to start the hike.  We arrived at Rancho Hnos Padras were we sat by a cozy fire and had hot cocoa or tea.  I had the cocoa and Mike had the tea.  I have to say the hot cocoa was fabulous, especially since the temperature had dropped substantially at 12,500 feet. 

Did I mention Cuenca is at 8,200 and we started the hike at 12,500 and eventually got to just under 14,000!  As we left the warmth of the restaurant I bundled up even more.  I had on an undershirt, long sleeved t-shirt. turtleneck, my very warm Patagonia jacket and a down jacket as well as my hat and gloves.  I looked like Nanook of the North!

I thought I was acclimated to the altitude and I guess I am for 8,200 but I have to say I thought I was going to die.  About 30 minutes in I told them to just pick me up on the way back.  I was told they weren't coming back this way and that it was about 1 1/2 hours to the top.  So, I took several deep breaths and off we went again.  I did have to make quite a few stops but each time it got better. 

Finally we made it to the lake we were hiking to and had a wonderful rest and snack.  Mike and I brought a peanut and raisin mix along with a chocolate bar.  Let me tell you, it tasted like a gourmet feast!

After our rest we headed back down the mountain.  It was much easier going down as we followed a dirt road.  I thought we were home free until we got to the main road and found we were going back up hill.  But we made it and look forward to doing another hike...but I think we will wait until summer (it is winter here in Ecuador!)

We were in bed with the lights out at 8:00p and slept like babies.

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