July 4, 2008
Another mind bending day!
Seeing Jose (our driver)’s familiar and friendly face that morning was so nice.
We left Agato, a joyful, yet sad feeling in the air, all the happy memories and excitement for new places, but the feeling of departure struck everyone.
We had a 4 hour bus ride up up and some more up to 12,000 feet. I suppose coming from 10,000 it wasn’t that dramatic, but the scenary change and the fact that we were going up hill was a more then true. We arrived at a nice Hacienda in the middle of ‘nowhere’ as Rachel put it. It was great! A red building against a beautiful green grass filled back drop with rising mountains surrounding it. Horses scattered the property and other tourists trickled in and out. No sooner then we arrived Kiley admitted she hadn’t been feeling well and arrival was the straw that broke the camels back. She decided to stay behind and rest while the others were offered tea and empanada’s de queso. Bread rolls with cheese inside. We snacked and drank and enjoyed our waiters that had ponchos on.
We went outside to put on chaps and ponchos. Took loads of pictures and mounted up on our horses. We set off on a dirt road and saw where the locals have their rodeo and continued on to see the wild livestock they round up to ride. We had a dog from the Hacienda that scared away the bulls as we rode off.
The terrain was pretty, Cotopaxi was covered in clouds, but once we got to a great lookout spot the clouds parted enough for us to see the mountain laced with cravaces. I told them a little about climbing the mountain and some glaciology. We soon took off in a nice canter carefree and loaded with smiles! We returned with saddle legs after 2 hours. Kiley was still not feeling well and the group went for lunch. After lunch there was a nice relaxing time by the fire, some games played outside and our 2nd Group (meeting). We treated Kiley and decided she needed to sleep inside a room while the group camped out. She got setteled and the group enjoyed a candle lit dinner. The stars were bright, there was a glimps of Cotopaxi before sun down, and everyone had excitement and some fear about the journey to hike to the refugio in the morning.
I went to bed with a feeling of us forming more as a group in having fun together, a nice change from all the hard work and focused attention that Agato took.
All the students were concerned and kind about Kiley not feeling well. We took everything in stride as even though we aren’t in the mountains we are far from easy trips to good clinics. We treated her symptoms and gave her rest. Hoping the next morning she’d either feel better or we could make arrangements to get her to a doctor.