Week 3

This week I climbed Volcán Pichincha and I went to the cloud forest. I have uploaded photos of the cloud forest, but I was unable to upload photos of Pichincha. If you want to see more photos, then go here. Sunday, I climbed Pichincha with a group of friends. It was super fun, and it was also very hard. It was similar to the trip to Chimborazo, but at Pichincha I walked more and the terrain was a lot more complex. There were tall, steep hills, and at teh end there were also rocks. Also, the pathway up Pichincha is a lot longer than the one to the second basecamp at Chimborazo. Finally, the top of Pichincha is at 4784 m! It was a very fun experience. I enjoyed the exercise and I also saw a Condor. After Pichincha, the group and I went to a cloud forest reserve called Santa Lucia. Santa Lucia is about 80km west of Quito. We got off the bus, and immediately climbed for 2 hours to the top of a hill. At the top of the hill, there is a lodge for tourists and scientists. On the path to the top, I saw a lot of really interesting plants. I have never seen a forest so green in my entire life. It was incredible. While walking, we learned a bit about the plants and the birds that we were hearing. After arriving at the lodge, the group and I studied hummingbirds. The hummingbirds were so gorgeous, with colors of green, blue, and purple. Also, we studied moths that night. This was an experience that was both very fun and stressful. In order to observe moths, you need to use an light and a blanket. The moths fly to the blanket and you can look at them easily. It’s fun because you can see all the different colors and weird shapes of the moths, but it is stressful because a lot of the moths will fly into your shirt of jacket! The second day, we woke up very early to look at birds. The birds of the cloud forest are fantastic. They have so many colors and are really easy to see in the morning. Afterwards, we set up mist nets in order to catch some birds. I liked seeing the birds so close, but I felt a little bad because the birds were so scared. On the third day, a group and I walked down the hill to the river in order to study macroinvertebrates. We was three waterfalls and some very beautiful butterflies. It was like we were in a postcard. The photos just don’t do justice to the beauty of this forest. It was truly an inspiring experience.