Tungurahua

Trip Start Jan 08, 2007
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Trip End Oct 01, 2007


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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hard slog up Tungurahua Volcano. Got dropped off 4Km from the refugio and started the muddy trek... even though we had all planned to do this expo days earlier not one of us (except the guide of course) was prepared: no rain gear,hiking boots... DOH! Saying this the day started off very warm at 2800m.

The trek ran through the cloud forest that covers most of the volcano with eerie tunnels scattered between tight muddy tracks leading ever upwards into the abis of white clouds. The altitude did its best to constrict taking proper breaths as we slowly ascended the mountain as the tracks were at times almost vertical. Unfortunately the white mist of the clouds surrounded us over the entire of Tungurahua and so views of anything were obscured to say the least and when we finally reached the Refugio we all froze to death from being soaked to the skin at the height of 3800m. Treks to the top of this highly active volcano have been halted since the last eruption only a mere 6 months ago. The scars of this immense blast could be seen on the old Refugio which, had huge crater hole all over the roof where the volcano had spewed hot rocks all over the surrounding area and the town of Baņos. To get to the top involves another 5 hour mission and a 2 hour ice trek/climb to the side of the crater.

Coming down after lunch on the other hand was an altogether different story we all pretty much ran/ slid down the wet paths and muddy puddles. The temp got rapidly warmer and warmer and breathing returned to normality. To get back into town from where we were dropped off we rode mountain bikes down a snaking road cutting across the side of the volcano. It was pretty exhilarating and there were some amazing views to be had of where the the molten lava had flowed towards the base of this mountain. This area is already green and flush with crops due to the extremely fertile new ground left behind.

To really cap the day we got some amazing views of Tungurahua from the bus on our exit. Ha! What a piss take and the photos i managed to blag really don't do it any justice whatsoever. When the clouds finally cleared in the afternoon it towers majestically over everything in its vicinity.
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