Playing with gravity and canopying

Trip Start Sep 19, 2009
Trip End May 19, 2010

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Where I stayed
Jardin de los Pajaros

Flag of Ecuador  , Pichincha,
Sunday, November 15, 2009

No rest for us, so off to Mindo - a cloud forest pueblo, about 2hrs from Quito. We only had 1 night here, as we wanted to be back in Quito to meet Jonny (Bens old flatmate, who was joining us for Galapagos). We got to the bus terminal to find our luck of catching buses had run out, we had missed one by 20 minutes and the next one was in 5 hours....hmmm! Still, rather than waste a minute, we decided to make use of our time and headed on a local bus to El Mitad del Mundo, the middle of the world (i.e. the equator line). The actual site was very touristy, like a little village with many restaurants and shops, but we had been recommended a museum just outside where we could experience the difference in gravity on the equator compared to either side. You weigh slightly less on the line itself (awesome!), and it's much easier to balance an egg on a nail! Both Ben and I managed to get the egg standing on the nail (no, not you Miss Eggers!!) while others struggled J.... We were also shown the differences in how the water drains out of a plug in the southern hemisphere, northern hemisphere and at the equator. Very interesting, if you’re into physics. Back to the bus terminal, and we got back in time for the 2pm bus to Mindo.

Sadly we now only had Monday morning to explore Mindo...however, we unexpectedly managed to get the most out of this morning. We had planned to do a 2 hour walk along road and path to the waterfalls and then another quick 2 hours back before we had our bus at 1.45pm, however on getting a taxi in the morning no one seemed to know where the start of the walk was. In our taxi, was a guy promoting the canopying that we could do, and how good the views were from the top, so we spontaneously decided to do that instead! We were very lucky that no other tourists were there, so started straight away getting harnessed and up to the first zip line over what seemed like a very huge gap between forests and a very long, thin line......TERROR.....I don't know how Ben managed to do the first zip line as I was terrified, and don't have much fear of heights! It was only us and two guides, so one went first to show us how it was done. We went next, followed by the final guide at the end. The first two zip-lines were terrifying, but after the initial fear of falling 300 odd metres into the forest we began to enjoy it.... then came the acrobatics! We had the choice of being superman or a butterfly, i.e. going along the line flying like superman, or completely upside down.....I went for the butterfly and Ben for superman and I think Ben suffered more painwise!!!! After the second attempt of being a butterfly, I was much more relaxed and very happy swinging upside down with just a bit of rope keeping me from falling head first 300 metres! We continued along 10 ziplines until the final, highest line at 400 metres where Ben and I went together with one guide and me attempting to video - hopefully you can see the results below!

After the exhilaration of the ziplining, we headed along the roads to the waterfalls and another tarabita (way more stable that in Banos) to get to the paths. The path was narrow, and covered in spiders webs, boy was I glad that Ben was in front! At the final waterfall we attempted to swim, I say attempted as it was absolutely FREEZING, and the current was so strong from the waterfall that it was impossible to get near it but hey, we tried! It was then a mad rush to get back to the hostel before our bus left for Quito, with tractors and late taxi drivers not helping us… now we just had to hope Jonny had made it through the Inca trail and 2 flights to get Quito...
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