Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Chimborazo


When I decided to go to Ecuador, the first picture I found was a really high mountain with snow on top and in front an Alpaca. It took me some research to find out which mountain that was and where I had to go to take this picture. It turned out it was the Chimborazo, a vulcano and the highest mountain of Ecuador with more than 6300m altitude. They also informed me that due to being located near the equator (the earth is not perfectly round), it actually is the highest mountain measured from the middle of the earth.


So I totally wanted to go there and take this picture. I found out there's a bus to the entrance to the volcano at 4400m with another street going up to the first refuge where you might be able to be picked up by a car so you don't have to walk. So when I reached that entrance, it was rainy, cloudy and really cold and I couldn't see more than maybe three meters ahead. Therefore I was really glad I could go up in a car, together with some japanese people also hoping for a transport.


I really hoped we could get over the clouds so I could see something of the mountaintop. And I was lucky. The sky partly cleared on top and it was even sunny sometimes. So on 4800m, at the first refuge, I already really felt the altitude. I never imagined it would be that bad. Walking down - no problem,  but everytime I took some steps up, to the second refuge at 5000m which you might see on the previous foto, my heart started beating really fast. But nevertheless, of course I got there.


Up there it was really, really windy and cold. When continuing the way up to some lake that should be there, I thought the wind will freeze my nose. That didn't happen, but I did get a nice sunburn, especially on my nose. So when reaching the lake, in the middle of snow at 5100m,, feeling cold and fighting against the wind, I did the only rational thing that could be done: I built a snowman.


After that, for some reason, probably because I was going down again, the altitude suddenly didn't bother me anymore. So I decided to walk back down to the main street where I could catch a bus. This allowed me to see some vicunas (no idea what's the difference to alpacas) that live here on the vulcano and also two wolves I first mistook for street dogs - and even when one of them stopped to stare at me, I didn't feel as afraid as when I saw that tarantula. Fortunately I wasn't that interesting for them.


So after getting back, I was really euphoric, because it was really really impressing. I do have this theory that people are getting so euphoric about mountains that high because of the altitude that causes them to feel kind of high. But nevertheless, it was really great and I am really glad I did the trip, because who knows when I will be that high again?