Pasochoa expedition

Not long after we got on the (major, national) divided highway this morning, we came upon a construction zone, and got shunted over this side route leaving both travel lanes to the repaving crew.

During this morning’s jaunt, we came across several groups of bicyclists, leading us to conclude that Saturday is for bicycle outings and practices.

We also found this wide load (carga ancha). Not sure what it was, but it looked rather like a reviewing stand, with many streamers.

Just off the highway, we made our turn at this church to take a very local road to the parking area for hiking in the Pasochoa cloud forest, officially Refugio de Vida Silvestre Pasochoa.

For all but perhaps fifty meters of the 5.3 km access road, we bumped along at a very slow speed. Many pickups passed us, despite this being such a narrow, one-and-a-bit lane road.

The land use change is the edge of the park, with farmers pasturing animals right up to the forest.

Here’s the map of the hiking trails, aka senderos. We opted for the medium-length middle one.

The path was okay, not muddy thankfully.

We immediately found bromeliads.

The path was in the selva (jungle), but just in it along the edge of a field. I suspect some of the plants we saw were introduced from agricultural undertakings. Not sure about this, but clover seemed like it was a pasture escapee, as they looked like the versions I’ve seen in fields in North America.

I had one of these, far less vigorous, in my freshman dorm room. I never got to see the new, beige leaflets.

Here is the downside of the path. It went up and up and up, to perhaps 9800 feet (from perhaps 9100 at the parking lot). We took it very slowly, and looked for plants, flowers, and creatures of interest.

I found a slug on a trail marker and heard a very few bird calls. I expected more….

Descending, we found a great valley view. Green green green.

The last feature before the parking lot was a fancy “pic-nic” area. We saw maybe nine of these.

We bumped along that miserable 5.3 km, then took a different route than we came through in the morning, to avoid Sangolquí, which I have nicknamed Traffic Jam Town. This is our turn off the highway to access the route to the hotel. As you can see.

This was a very different day than the previous ones we’ve spent here in the Ecuadorian valleys. Nice to have the diversity. This place is high-altitude for us, and today we really felt it. And survived.

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