Ecuador isn’t quite finished kicking our asses, almost, soon we’ll see what Peru’s made of. Probably more mountains. We left our comfortable hostel in Baños in search of some rad mountain lakes that would eventually lead us into the Orient, or Eastern Ecuador as it sits on the map. It turns out the lakes of interest were at the top of a pass and the weather was not in our favour.
Three days of climbing through horizontal rain provided us with a chilly view of part of a lake and a whole lot of fog. The highlight had to be passing a viewpoint that overlooked one of the lakes, only the fog was so thick you could barely see your own shoes... So that sucked, but we did get an amazing trout lunch at a restaurant in the middle of nowhere for $3 each so it was worth it.
Thankfully the lakes were really high and the Orient is very low so it didn’t take much effort to coast 70kms into warmer temps. Because of the biblical amounts of rain near the lakes the “highway” we were on was littered with landslide debris and waterfalls flowing over the road all over the place, cool.
The Orient is a pretty neat place, dense jungle, lots of waterfalls, big bugs, NO SNAKES, little traffic and humidity like there’s no tomorrow. We spent a little more than a week jumping from one tiny town to the next playing motel roulette along the way. It’s amazing the kind of room $20 will get you in one town and what it won’t in the next. In the town of Limon we found a nice quiet hostal located on what we would later learn is the local drag strip. A cute old couple ran the place and happily stored our bikes in a room on the ground floor so we didn’t have to lug them up a flight of stairs, unfortunately the next morning they went to church and neglected to unlock the room with our bikes in it. Fortunately there are human sized wholes in most buildings here so I simply climbed through one above the door and passed our bikes out the window. I wonder what the oldies thought when they got home.
Leaving the Orient brought a gain in elevation and loss in temperature, not a terrible trade. It was a pretty wet climb most of the way which again stole any views of the valley we were climbing through, stupid fog. Stopped for lunch at a waterfall we watched a family who had to be on vacation rush out of their car, climb up the falls, run back to their car, strip down and jumped into the falls with a bar of soap and proceeded to take a bath. It had to be 15c outside and it was raining, some people...
This trip has been a failure, but Andrea has promised to fix that by taking me to the zoo in Loja where we will finally see Tapirs!!!!!! True facts about the tapir
A big THANK YOU to Timothy Towers for providing very detailed route info on his cycle touring blog through Colombia and Ecuador. We will surely miss his blog heading further South: www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1mr&doc_id=18962&v=qQ