Following the Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Route and getting down for the paramo, we arrive in Otavalo. The city has not much to offer except its famous artisanal market. We quickly went there to check it when we arrived but it was already closing. Too bad. No ponchos for Pedalpaca.
Otavalo main church and plaza
The next day we started climbing again to another paramo and a beautiful lagoon, through this amazing cobblestone road. Sometimes we feel proud to be on a bike when we cross the local busses, but not always.
At 3700m stands the Mojanda lake, surrounded by amazing mountains. As the weather seems to be nice for a couple of days, we decide to camp near the lake and try to climb to one of the summit arround the next morning for the sunrise.
2 friends 2 bikes 1 lake
We set up our camp in an empty camping on the south east part of the lake and decide to make a fire to get warmer as the sun goes down. The place is quiet and really peaceful. We start thinking about writing a small song next to the fire, but as soon as Thibault get his guitar out of its drybag, he realises that it's completely broken. The poor guitar didn't resist the Ecuadorian's cobblestones. Sadly we decide to give back the wooden instrument to the Pachamama, and throw it to the fire.
Sadly giving our guitar back to Pachamama
4 am the next morning, our alarms wake us up. It's still dark outside, freezing, but with an amazing clear sky. With some courage we finally get out of bed, put all our warm clothes on us, and quickly pack up the tent and start cycling in the dark to get warmer.
After about 1 hour of cycling and a few hundreds meter of climbing, the sky is slightly lighting up and we arrive to the beginning of our hike. We hide the bikes in the bushes next to the road, and start climbing by foot on an uncertain invisible path. As the time pass and as we get higher, the clear sky is getting brighter. We're only a few metets away from the summit and the sun is only a few minutes away from rising.
5.30 am, start of our climb to Cerro Negro
We arrive at the top of Cerro Negro ( 4263m ) exactly at the same time as the sun is rising from behind volcano Cayambe. Lucky us. We're completely alone, in this peaceful moment, watching the sun rising and the mountains around coming out of the dark. What a moment.
Sunrise from Cerro Negro
Cotacachi, where we came from the day before
Cotopaxi from a distance
Cotopaxi at our fingertips