Girmantas | Travel | July 13, 2010
It takes no time to put on a camouflage vest and grab a shotgun in your mind since you hear a word hunting. Silence and patience is everything. One mistake, missed opportunity or lost patience and you’ll have no food to put at your family dinner.
Unfortunately, volcanoes are not afraid of any shotguns. And you will not put his on the dinner table either. We took our photo and video equipment instead, and set for hunting in our way. However, patience was still the most necessary feature. Firstly it seemed that our hunting is going to be easy and we have picked the best grasslands – more than 10 volcanoes are stretching within a few hundred kilometers range. But they hammered our expectations and every single time we came within shooting distance – they have covered themselves with the clouds.
We tried to play vague while driving past Cotopaxi on a bus. He played tough. Only when we were out of the range he stuck the crater from the clouds like a girl teasing you with her tongue. Our road lead to Baños, the small town located close to one of the most active Ecuadorian volcano Tungurahua (last time volcano has erupted on May 28th, 2010). And we have once again faced the same story. Volcano was hiding in the clouds. We have even tried to create diversion and went east to the Oriente jungle. Got rid of the clouds, but no luck with Tungurahua.
I was starting to worry. Half of our trip is over already and no trophies so far. We had our last chance on the way back. Still, we had to weigh and plan everything carefully. We packed our stuff quickly and on the very last minute we went from Baños to Riobamba. For further confusion we took a bus to Alausi. Volcanoes have felt our travels so it was not only cloudy, but also sometimes even raining. The sunny weather next morning draw smiles on our faces. Not only it was nice to see Alausi, but also it was hard to hide excitement that finally we have tricked the giants! We took a bus back to Riobamba and here sneaked silently into another one riding right by the furthest point from the center of the Earth – Chimborazo.
As soon as we came within 20 kilometers, Chimborazo have felt our presence. He was hopelessly trying to cover himself in the clouds. It was too late. The bus have topped almost 4 km height and we were here. Right in front of the crater enlightened by the setting sun. We have stayed overnight in Guaranda and the next day took a cab to come back and see the highest peak of Ecuador a bit closer. Chimborazo was still trying to hide in the clouds, but it was already clear – we got him! The dance of the clouds and sand storms coming from nowhere was just as exciting as the fact that we were at the distance from the center of the Earth as far as the peak of Mount Everest.
At this height you feel really different. Not only desaturated oxygen in the air, but also the environment. Due to tropical climate, the snow in Ecuador starts only at 5 km height. So rocks, lava and clouds was everything we found around Chimborazo. In these conditions only one living animal can survive. Llama relatives vicuñas look like aliens finding something to eat where you can’t see anything green. Dizzy heads brought us back to the car.
We got it!
Time to move on.