Saturday, June 22, 2013

Photo Update: Quito Sights and Hikes

Lately I've been trying to get out and do more around Quito. It's easy to get into a routine and forget about some of the cool things RIGHT HERE. But there really are some great spots nearby.
First, a sunset from my window:
A few weekends ago I visited the Panecillo, which is a famous statue of an angel, overlooking the city. It's a popular tourist attraction but for some reason I had been in no hurry to visit it when I lived nearby. I'm glad I finally went--the view was great and the weather was nice. 
The angel.
View from the Panecillo. 
From the bottom, with my friend Danielle.

I also have recently been exploring the huge park near my house, Parque Metropolitano. I went geocaching there some time ago, but now that I live closer, I've done a little more geocaching, exploring, and some trail running. The park itself is more like a state park back home than a city park. It's huge, with biking and running trails going every which way, multiple playgrounds and picnic shelters, views of volcanoes, and cows and llamas peacefully grazing (there are some indigenous people living within the park with their animals. I'm not sure what the agreement it, but it seems to work fine).  
View from one part of the park
Some llamas were being herded around the outskirts of the park

A calf in the Eucalyptus trees
Weird poles?
Another famous Quito-outing is the Teleferiqo: a cable car that runs from the edge of town to an incredible over-look of the city. This overlook also serves as the starting point for several hikes and climbs. The closest volcano to hike to is Rucu Pichincha. I'd started to hike to it when I was new here, but we stopped due to my friends' shoes, the inclement weather, and our poorly adjusted lungs. Anyway, this time was much more successful. I went with my roommate, our friend Dan, and two French friends of his.
The hike is about 3-3 1/2 hours to the top of Rucu Pichincha and 1 hour back down. I was surprised by how much more difficult it was than hiking to the glacier on Cotopaxi. Cotopaxi's glacier is around 5,200 meters high and the summit of Rucu Pichincha is only 4,700 meters, but the hike to Rucu Pichincha is much longer and includes more of a scramble. On both hikes, I had difficulty breathing at times, but not too badly. Anyway, it was an awesome hike and I'm definitely going to do it again. 
Cotopaxi greeted us at the beginning of our hike
Such a beautiful morning
Dan and I at the beginning of the rocky part of the trail
Getting close to the top

I could see everything up there.  

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