I think it’s safe to say our adventure week lived up to everyone’s adrenaline-seeking expectation! We kicked the week off in Quilotoa, a quaint village right on the edge of a crater lake. Our first day was spent hiking down to the water and kayaking, which proved to be a lot easier said than done with the altitude! Rhian and Marcus had the right idea when they chose to ride a mule back up to the top as opposed to walking. The next morning, Eden convinced a small group of us set the alarms for 6am and force ourselves out of bed for an indescribable sunrise over the crater lake.
Our next stop was Baños, where the adrenaline definitely rose, starting with a white water rafting expedition. We were told that it was “level 3+”, and it didn’t take too long to see what that plus meant. Although none of our rafts managed to flip, a few people did! Hannah, Jack, and John tumbled out once, but no-ones’ lack of balance compared to James’. Most of the time, our eyes were shut tight to avoid the massive waves crashing down. But every now and again when we could lift our heads up, we realized the absolutely breathtaking view. We were truly submerged in a mountainous jungle with the brightest shades of green in every direction. After returning to our hostel for showers and quick power-naps, we decided to take a bus up to the famous Casa Del Arbol. It’s not nicknamed “swinging over the edge of the world” for nothing.
Our second day in Baños was a free day, so we split into two groups. My group consisted of Rhian, Luisa, Olivia, and Chris, as we all really wanted to try zip lining through the mountains. All of us had been zip lining before except Chris, who has an extreme fear of heights. We were a little hesitant when he said he wanted to come along with us, but it’s safe to say he has moved a few steps closer to conquering that fear after “superman flying” across a rocky river.
While our group finished off the day enjoying some of the most extravagant Cookie Monster milkshakes you could picture, the other group had a little something else in store for themselves. That well-known parenting line of “if your friend jumped off a bridge, does that mean you would?” put itself to the test as the rest of the group went bridge jumping. I’m happy to report that all limbs are still attached, although from the sound of H.J. and John’s screams, one would of thought otherwise!
After everyone’s blood pressure found its way back to normal levels, we headed to Riobamba for a mountain biking excursion. We first had the chance to climb up the mountain reaching as high as 16,000 feet. The most incredible part of the day was during the walk back down, when mother nature threw a curveball at us with a snowstorm! None of us came to Ecuador expecting to see snow, but it definitely made me feel right at home! After the hike, everyone got padded up and fitted for their bike, except Luisa, Sarah, and me, who decided to ride in the back of the truck and cheer on everyone else instead.
It’s sad to see our adventure week come to an end, but it’s hard to be too upset when we know in the back of our minds that we’re just days away from heading to paradise. We have a day of grocery shopping and packing ahead of us, as the next time I write will be from the sandy beaches of San Cristobal, Galapagos!