Week 2

This week my program had a trip to the Páramo. The Páramo is a high desert is very cold throughout the year. On the way to the Páramo, we stopped at Lake Colta in order to study birds and human impacts in the area. At the lake, a lot of people have died due to boat accidents because the water is pretty shallow. Because of this, the community decided to create a deeper passage for boats in the center of the lake. When we were there, the lake had boats that were dredging the bottom of the lake, and we were studying the effects of these activities of bird populations in the lake. After the lake, we visited the Páramo. In Ecuador, we visited the Páramo that is close to Mt. Chimborazo. We stayed two nights in asmall community in a tourism hotel that is called Casa Condor. There are not any condors anymore close to the hotel, but the hotel itself is built to resemble a the outline of a condor. The first day, we studies geology in the region. We saw a lot of really cool rock formation and we also saw vicuñas! Vicuñas are animals that look like alpacas or llamas, but they are not domesticated. The people of the community use the wool from the vicuñas to make expensive clothing. In order to get the wool for the vicuñas, a human circle is formed in order to surround the vicuñas. After this, the people of the community cut the wool from the vicuñas. On the second day of the drip, we traveled to the Polylepis forest. It was cloudy and windy, but the forest was really beautiful. The trees are deep orange, and many of the animals use the forest to hide themselves. I learned that the whole area is protected by the community and tourism. Tourism is used to save money for the community. The people of the community use the funds to buy wood and other things, and because of this they do not need to use resources from the forest. We learned about the plants of this area as well. To be so high in the Páramo was very mysterious and fascinating. Because the Páramo is so high, you can see the clouds travel into the valleys. Clouds surround you as you are standing in a place and you can see them roll over the ground. After exploring the forest, we helped a farmer move her alpacas. We chased the alpacas in a field in order to move them into a stall. It was super fun! On the third day, we hiked to the second refuge of Chimborazo at 5100 meters. This part of the trip was difficult because I had never been so high up in my life. All of the students had to walk slowly and we were all breathing hard. However, the vies of the mountain were incredible. I can’t describe it, but I will include some photos on this page. When I returned from the trip, I practices Spanish with my host sister. She wants to learn English, and I am teaching her some words. It is very good for my Spanish and she is excited to learn.