We got up early (6:30am) to head to Banos. Jason, Blythe, and I were exhausted which turned out well for Blythe because we ended up having a 12+ hour day and a lot of that was in the car. We made our first stop about 3 hours into the trip to grab a quick lunch which ended up being a ham and cheese sandwich on a roll (which was a lot like the ham and cheese toasties we had in Australia for those of you who have been reading along).
We drove about another hour up the road to the Chimborazo volcano. We got about half way up in the car when we realized that we had a flat. We all unloaded the car, they changed the flat and we loaded back in. The car was able to drive us up to base camp #1. For hikers who are planning to hike to the top of Chimborazo they stay 1 night in Base camp #1 to get acclimated to the altitude then they hike to base camp #2 and back and spend a 2nd afternoon at Base camp #1 before hiking up the following evening (10:30) to stay at Base camp #2. I´m not sure exactly what happens from there, but I think there is a 3rd base camp. We had planned to hike from base camp #1 to base camp #2 which was 200 meters straight up, but it was decided that it probably wasn`t a good idea for a young child, Blythe, or a pregnant person, me, to make the hike, due to the altitude. After the 200 meter hike you would be at 5000 meters. After hiking up just a little ways Becky and Jim decided they too would stay back at base camp and let the others go on. So Jim, Becky, Blythe, and I hung out at the base camp for about an hour while the others hiked. Jim disappeared after about 30 minutes and we later found out that he decided to hike up after all. When Nathan, Jason, Rachel, Byron, and Jim returned from the hike they told us that the first little bit that we hiked to (where the monument was) was the steepest part of the entire hike, so maybe we could have made it?
We all piled back into the car to finish up our car drive of another 3.5-4 hours where we would spend one night in Banos. We originally intended to get to Banos around 5pm to have time to go to the baths that evening, but we didn`t arrive until 8ish. So we all ate dinner and turned in. Jason and I were determined to get a good night of sleep so we asked for a room that was somewhat secluded so if we needed to let Blythe cry it out and get over not wanting to sleep in the pack `n play, we could. We lucked out and she slept great.
We headed to the baths about 7:00am because we needed to have our bags at the van by 8am and be ready to head out by 9am. It is quite a circus the driver and guide have to go through to get all our luggage on the top of the van. We were all done eating slightly before 9am so we ran over to the local church to have a look. Blythe really enjoyed running up and down the aisles.
Today was a nice change of pace for Jim, Nathan, Jason, Rachel, and I because we were going to bike for about and hour and a half in route to our next destination. We got on our bikes about 9:30 and headed towards Rio Verde. The bike ride was a nice change of pace, but Blythe and Becky followed behind us in the car because Becky wasn`t up for a bike ride and it wasn`t safe for Blythe. We winded around a mountain and even had to go through a tunnel. Of course the boys thought the tunnel was fun, but it was a little too dark for my comfort (we got in there before I had time to take off my sunglasses) and it was not lit so you felt like you were going to hit another biker at any minute OR a car was going to hit you. Luckily there were no injuries and we were able to go around all the other tunnels.
The first stop on our bike ride was about an hour into it. We took a gondola up a mountain to see the water falls. We got out on the other side and did a little hiking and tried out some Ecuadorian swings made out of tires. At first we were all a little intimidated by them, but before long we had all taken a turn, even Blythe (pictures to come).
We got back on our bike and headed to Rio Verde which was about 20 minutes away, then we had to get back into the car. Luckily we only had about a 2 hour car drive until we reached Tana, the Jungle! More to come on that.........