Banos Dos

Trip Start Jan 14, 2013
Trip End Apr 15, 2013

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Flag of Ecuador  , Tungurahua,
Saturday, February 23, 2013

We can't believe we have already been in Banos ten days. Yes its a touristy place but what a stunning touristy place it is. Similar to the westcoast and other popular destinations the day trips consume most of its visitors and are spread out over numerous outings. Our final few days are spent hiking, biking, "cage" riding with a couple more zip lines for good measure. Weather has been great for us this trip until now, pissy- cloudy - cool but not enough to keep us from renting bikes for an awesome 25km trip along the river towards Puyo. The roads in Ecuador in general are great but they haven't factored in alternative transportation aka biking lanes, paths,or how about just a few inches? We had to pass through 2 tunnels, one way traffic so not so bad, a little dark maybe....echoe....I had to keep up with Marg somewhere ahead of me?.....along the way there are a number of stops for caging across the river or zip lining. Marg rips another piece from her vertigo cape and opts for both cage rides. Way to go Marg! I opt for my final flings across the river bypassing some beautiful waterfalls, enjoying the view....preparing for landing....which is where? whom?......"Would you like the superman harness" " Sure why not, your simply suspended from the line head to tow with nothing to hang onto right?" "And there is a guy over yonder who will keep me from embedding in the mountainside?" I'm sure he understood every word I said. 

Hiking in Banos means picking up rudimentary maps.....and heading off....headlamps check,water check,...snickers bars check....rain jacket check....animated rudimentary maps to the top of mount something check.....this hike starts by taking us 2.5 hours up another 2000 feet along a "straight" forward beautiful road of interlocking brick with cobblestone edges. By the 2 hr mark my ass, calves, ham hocks and feet are begging for mercy and we are hallucinating about a funky cafe at the top with fireplace to warm up along with papas fritas, a tall Pilsner and a view of the volcano. We meet a German gal along the way for the final leg and reach the top in pea soup. The hiking gods are with us and a guy wanders out and waves us into his home complete with beautiful view, burning fireplace, papas fritas and tall Pilsners. Apparently he knew we were coming, along with a few other worldly soles who opted for hiking today instead of jumping off bridges or rafting down five grades. The volcano is covered in fog and clouds but glimpses of sun are just enough to stay for a couple beers coaxing it to show. Alas no complete view again but we are now re-fuelled and ready for the "short cut" down.

"Just follow the decending road and turn left at the white house you can see in the distance a few km down, don't turn right". Forty five minutes later the "road" to nowhere simply ends where the left turn isn't, leaving us with option 1; follow the goat trails down a steep bank and cross that river in the distance and maybe it will lead somewhere, or option 2; hike back up and follow the same road we came up on back down. Option 1 is voted in by the three of us and we become goats, take 3 different approaches to crossing the river....and end up 4-5 km south of the wrong side of the river canyon separating Banos from said adventure hike. We have officially trail blazed a beautiful new hiking route and could add a fantastic new entry to the rudimentary maps of Banos. 

Packing up and leaving our funky hostel Chiminea ($250 for 10 days including breakfast, laundry,beers and waterfall views - for the two of us - highly recommended ) with life time memories of Banos and heading to the central city of Cuenca, about a six hour bus ride further south.
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Russ Hudson on

Hi Chris and Marg
Have been out of the area for a couple of weeks , just got home and have been having a " whale" of a time catching up on all your travels and adventures looks like you are both continuing to have a wonderful time.
Before I forget, have been keeping mom updated on your travels and she asked me to say hi to the both of you, I print off your stories and when I go up to see her she can read about your experiences so THANK YOU to the both of you for all the wonderful memories we are having of your amazing trip.
You are both looking VERY RELAXED and enjoying your journey, stay safe and many thanks again for the stories you keep sending Love to both of you from Anna also.
Take care

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