Hashing and Hiking

Trip Start May 11, 2005
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

 
    When I first got back to Quito from the Galapagos I was ready to check out the nightlife! The Galapagos was great but it was pretty much party free so I was itching to go out!  I was able to hook up with my English friend Imar for a couple nights out on the piss and we did the nightlife up proper!
     The best part about Quito this time was that I was able to finally run with the Quito Hash House Harriers!   I even talked Imar and English Paul into it.   Its always hard to get other backpackers to come hash because the whole concept of running long distances while drinking beer and singing old English pub songs so how puts them off...   This was a special hash because it was 2 hours north of Quito in the highland forest.   It was a great time and the trail actually had 2 live hares!  I finished 2 place and had to drink for running to fast (front running MF) but the best part about this hash is the I finally got my hash name!  I have been hashing maybe 15 times but never been able to get a hash name due to the rule that one must hash with the same house 6 times.  But since I led the kennel in stretching and a song or two I got my a name from a visiting religious adviser.  If all this sounds a little odd, educate yourself by looking it up on the net!  I'm done explaining it!  So now I have a hash name but its only for other hasher's!  You can see from the pictures its a very holy naming ceremony  where they pray to the god of beer and I get anointed with flour!
      After this I headed 3 hours south of Quito to do the Quiltoea loop.  Basically this is a huge loops around the highlands of Ecuador and the scenery is spectacular.  There is a famous volcano lake that makes this area famous.  The loop itself takes about 3 days on crazy windy mountain roads with sheer drops on every turn. On many of the switch backs I could literally stare straight off huge cliffs that were no less than a foot from the bus.  These kind of roads  are famous for being both beautifull and super dangerous and they normally only exist in 3rd world countries.   
     I took a bus for 6 hours to some random town where there was a cheap hostel.  Once I got there I set out to try and find the hike that goes to the crater.   That night I talked to some backpackers that had got off a bus in a different town, hiked to the volcano and then 8 miles more to the small town I was in.   I heard the hike was epic and the lake was even better but most people end of getting lost.  Not having a map or guide I took notes from 3 people that had done the hike. The only problem was that I was doing the hike backwards so the directions were a little fuzzy.    
      The next day I set out and was lost in 30 minuets but the scenery was fantastic!  I was prepared for a big hike because I was told it 4 to 5 hours of strenuous climbing.   After a bit of wondering I found myself on a dirt road that was heading uphill.   I ask some local farmers if I was going the right way and they told me yes.  I even walked with a little boy for about 45 minuets practicing my Spanish and he also assured me that I was going the right way.   No less than 2 hours and 30 min later I found myself in the town but I had not seen the volcano and I knew I had come the wrong way.    I had planned to catch a bus back to my hostel that day since the trail was suppose to be so strenous.  Not being tired I decided to hike back on the proper trail.
       Hiking back the scenery was even better and  the crater lake was massive.  I had to hike with rocks in my pocket because all the huts had dogs that constantly came out to bark or attack me.   Most the time all I had to do was pretend to throw a rock and they would run away but a couple of times I had to peg them which normally did the trick.  
     Hiking down the volcano was very steep so I decided to run.  It was so much fun I even let go a whoop of excitement.  Before I knew it I was running full blast past a little hut that had 3 mid sized dogs.   These mutts must have thought my whoop was a battle cry and charged  me as fast as they could.  With so much momentum I could only manage to grab a rock before running head long into the pack.  I took my cloth bag and held it out for the first dog to bite while pegging the second dog with a body shot the 3rd dog bit my leg before I kicked him and hollered for the people in the hut to call of their dogs.  In typical 3rd world country fashion they just came out of their hut and open mouth stared.......  The dogs eventually backed off and I was able to keep hiking.  My heart was pounding though my chest.   These dogs kept following giving me the opportunity to practice my aim.
       I never got lost again after that and the path wound down into a huge ravine before heading straight back up the mountain side.   The next day I had a choice to either catch a direct bus at 430 in the morning or hitch a ride at 830 on a milk truck with a 4 hour layover in a small village.  I didn't hear my alarm so I had to hitch a ride on the milk truck.  On it I met a rich American couple that had also missed the 430 bus and were hitching a ride too they didn't want to wait the 4 hours so they rented a truck and let me ride back to town for only the bus fare!  I totally lucked out!
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