Climbing volcanos seems like a good idea........

Trip Start Jun 21, 2008
Trip End May 11, 2009

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Sunday, July 13, 2008

For some strange reason, I thought that it would be a good idea to climb up Cotapaxi on Saturday.  Not being a seasoned mountaineer, I took the easy way out, which was to take a bus to 4500 m, climb up to 4800m to the Refuge hut have lunch and then come down on a bike.  Although the climb was only 300 m, it took me a long time cos it was like climbing up a sand dune without oxygen!  I made it to the refuge hut but declined the walk up to the glacier as I thought that the altitude was starting to affect me.  Instead of going up to the 5000m mark, I went inside and had hot chocolate and chatted to some local Ecuadorians who gave me some great advice on what to do next.  I rejoined the group when they came back from the glacier for lunch.  After lunch we walked back down to the car park.  (At least some of us walked, the guides decided that running was the better option! ) I figured that getting down without breaking something was more important, besides I felt like I had half the mountain in my shoes!  The next bit was great fun.  We climbed on mountain bikes and then headed downhill towards the lake 10km away.  The first bit was very steep and gravelly and corrogated but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  As the bikes were not the most modern and were very well used, the seat wasn´t exactly well padded so the after effect was a little sore but the experience was worth the pain.  The bus then took us back to PapaGaya where we were provided with a warming mug of hot chocolate before getting back on board to come back to Quito.  I was shattered by the end of the day but really had a fantastic time.  I fully recommend that trip to anyone coming to Quito as long as you are relatively confident on a bike. 
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