Just read this post from a beautiful friend and spectacular spirit. Shook my to my core and expresses too much grace not to share.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 45,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 10 Film Festivals
As one of the “must sees” on our list for our time here, it was with no small amount of excitement that we woke the boys up before dawn to begin this Saturday’s aventura trip. We were met by a friend of a friend by the name of Milton who drove us up to the lake and then hiked with Bo to the peak. The volcano peaks around here are So High that they are almost always covered in clouds, if you get a clear shot it’s likely going to come in the early part of the morning- hence our breakfast and dressing in the dark.
Aside from being a beautiful beautiful beautiful spot that graces many a poster and has called to us to be seen for a while now, there is also an interesting legend surrounding this area. The story goes that ages ago an Incan prince and princess, though madly in love with each other, were denied permission to marry. As the most dedicated legend-lovers do, they decided that they could not live under that verdict and threw themselves into the crater at Mojanda. The death of their love somehow formed the two main lakes of the area: Caricocha (man lake) and Huarmicocha (woman lake). There is also a much smaller lake up in that area known, not as child lake, but as Yanacocha (black lake). It is very unclear to me how that lake fits into the legend…
In any case, it was a visit worth the legend and the wait as I found it to be one of the most serene, beautiful, and quietly powerful places I’ve ever seen. The boys and I enjoyed hiking around the perimeter of the main lake, Caricocha, and hiking up the peak trail and getting lost in its tall grasses, peering for a glimpse of Bo and Milton at the top. Bo and Milton did make it to the top, and in record time! The peak itself is called Fuya Fuya and crests at 4,263 m (13, 986 ft); Milton takes tourists on this hike 2-3 times a week and told us to count on it taking around 3 hours to reach the top. Milton is not accustomed to hiking with Bo Stambaugh of Crested Butte, CO and much to his surprise they made it up and back in less than half that time.
Here’s a gallery of photos from the boys’ and my ramblings, Bo’s hike to the top, and some of our ride back home which I took from the back of the pick-up (how Vaughn, Luke, and I MUCH prefer to travel these days) 😉
Quito is Massive,
and therefore, wasn’t originally on our list. However, to get just about anywhere in Ecuador to anywhere else, you often go through Quito — so we had some time to check it out and there’s a lot more to it than it’s overwhelming size. It has an amazingly well preserved Old Town that is a top Unesco World Heritage site. And around the Old Town area there are lovely little side streets that look a lot like what we pictured living in an “old colonial neighborhood” for this sabbatical might look like. Not that we have to match what we saw in our heads before even getting here, but nothing in Ecuador really looks like what we’d pictured, so it’s simply worth noting.
Plus, there are hospitals (I haven’t documented them all on this blog, but suffice it to say — Luke has continued to keep that criteria at the top of the list), every kind of high quality school, parks, playgrounds, museums and all the other Big City perks that are fun for the whole family.
Pros: Great Old Town, Lots to do, Good Schools, Good Hospitals, Likely Easier to find a rental, Main Airport — easy to get to us and for us to travel away
Cons: Seriously overwhelming in size, Crazy Dangerous streets due to unsafe driving and non-pedestrian culture, dangerous after dark, can be dangerous before dark, high crime, outside of old town… not much chance for any kind of peace.
Ayampe, and Finca Punta Ayampe, was small and beautiful and remote and safe. And we had some fun family time seeing lots of new and unusual things. Check it out:
Thank goodness for the signs, or we’d NEVER find it.
Our Cabin is the farthest on the left as you look at this picture:
The boys hiking up to the main “house” for breakfast. Pretty sure they are playing Peter Pan here, which is highly appropriate:
Bo’s and my view for our coffee nook at the main house:
Endless beach full of interesting things…
And Happy Boys…
And Sweet Messages… 🙂