It was like Scotland.
Hills, streams, lakes, “footpaths”, and cloud.
Rasmus (Swedish guy) and I took the one hour bus from the main Cuenca terminal, and were dropped at the Information Centre at the entrance to the Park. We registered our arrival and told the lady working there our intended route.
The suggested timings and distance didn’t seem to align (3.5 hours to trek 3km), but nonetheless we decided upon an extended loop round the steep ledges and over a couple of rivers. The terrain was tough at times, there were some squelches, but we were able to navigate ourselves around easily enough. The pictures can describe the topography better than me (I’m using my phone btw).
Around 12 we had done most of our trek such was the guide’s overestimation on walking time. On the other side of one of the lakes we spotted some waterfalls, and decided (somewhat naughtily) to go off-piste. Made it there in half an hour and sat down for lunch.
It took us a while to get back on the beaten track, however after that it was unproblematic back to base. Time was passed talking about English phrases, comedians and eventually The Office, of which Rasmus is a fan.
After four hours in the relative wilderness we had to get back to the city. Agreed with a family who had two free spots in their car that they would take us back. We explicitly agreed $5 for two. The journey back we conversed a bit (I was just about following) and got dropped a few blocks from the hostel. As we got out, the son insisted we pay $5 each. We naturally refused, and headed off a little disappointed.
In all it was good to get some fresh air and explore some of the natural scenery of Ecuador before I left. Felt reminiscent of Duke of Edinburgh though, and I swear after 5 days in the Black Mountains I made a pact to: “never go hiking again”…