Friday, January 29, 2010

Cotopaxi National Park

This day was tough one. We dedicated it to visit Cotopaxi National Park and trek to 5000 m - the highest point at the glacier edge that one can reach without specialized equipment, acclimation process and sleeping in the tent at high altitude. By the way, this is the highest active volcano in the world. It's not much to write about. We just got to the park border in our own car, then had to switch to local car with park guide. He took us to parking at 4500 m. From this point we had to get the hut at 4800 m. It was only 300m, but very hard one - it took me 50 minutes, others did it in 1h or even 1h 10m. The worst thing was volcanic ash. You had to move like on the very sandy beach. And what's even worse - uphill. Finally I reached the hut and had some rest. It was an offer to get to 5000 m for willing people. Only me and guy from Russia decided to go. I had my photo backpack that weighted about 12 kg and he had only light SLR camera in his hand. Finally after 20 minutes we did it. Touched glacier and went back down to the parking lot. Way down took us only about 30 minutes - was much easier. From the parking we headed to nice lake at the foot of the volcano and had seen some birds and wild horses there. Park itself is very nice, but one must have nice weather to fully enjoy it. It takes the whole day to get to 5000 m and back, so if you dare, please reserve enough time.

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