One of the things I had to learn during the trip, is that you have to adapt to constantly changing plans. After the hike-a-bike episode in Cayambe-Coca, we wanted to explore another back road in the Antisana national park but we had to changed our plans due to bad weather conditions, and also due to a high risk of not be able to ride our bike at all on this long and remote section. We decided to go back on the TEMBR. Next stop : Cotopaxi, the most famous volcano in Ecuador.
We followed the mountain side to avoid getting back down in the valley and thereby avoid big roads and big traffic. From there and for a few time we could see Quito in a distance, and had the feeling we weren't moving fast. The problem with cycling in the countryside, is that every dog of every house is barking and running at you. Most of the time they won't bite you but you're always have to be careful and stop to make them turn back. We tried a lot of different techniques to calm them like fake rock throwing, doing nothing, yelling, or even petting. Still haven't found a good one yet.
Will bite ? Won't bite ?
Finally able to see some Quinoa fields !
Will fall ? Won't fall ?
We spent a long day on the saddle and realised we weren't able to do it to the entry of the Cotopaxi national park before the night. We went to the river near by to fill up with water, and looked for a camp site, protected from the wind. We luckily found a perfect place, hidden from the road in the middle of pines, with enough dry wood to start a fire and get warm.
Enjoying our first fire for a while
The next day the weather wasn't as good as we expected: cold, strong headwind and fast moving clouds occasionally bringing rain. We entered the park, cycled for a few more killometers, and stoped in the refuge to get a full breakfast. We decided to wait here for an hour or two to see if the weather would get better, as we really wanted to see the top of the volcano, hidden in the clouds for now. 6 hours later we were still waiting in the refuge...
We decided to move on in the afternoon to find a place to camp as the refuge was way too expensive, and wait the next day to see if the weathers conditions were getting better.
Weather changing fast, bringing rain and rainbows
Campsite near a river protected from the wind
Once the camp was set, we were able to finally see the top of Cotopaxi, surrounded by a magnificent scarf of clouds. What a reward ! We rapidly cooked some quinoa, ate in the tent as it was raining outside, took some pictures of the volcano, and went to bed in our warm sleeping bags .
Finally Cotopaxi !
On our way to the other side of the park the next day, the volcano was still covered by a thin layer of clouds, and the wind was blowing strongly. We could still enjoy a bit of blue sky, warming our face skin, and started our way back down in the valley.
Pedalpaca showing of in front of a cloudy Cotopaxi
Loads of planted pines on the way down to the valley