We began our ascension of Mt. Pichincha by cable car. Actually, we began all the way at our home in the valley of Cumbaya, just 20 minutes outside of the capital city Quito. And we got to the cable cars by a taxi all by our big selves-- even with our tiny Spanish skills! The view from the top of the cable cars was breathtaking, but we had no idea what beauty was to come.
In case you didn't already know, llamas are my favorite and I happen to be in one of the best countries for spotting one! We met a woman with llamas so we took full advantage of the opportunity to say hello to them.
As we continued to climb the volcano, we found a corral of trail horses available for rent. After a little Spanglish communication, we decided to go on a 2-hour ride up the volcano on horseback! This experience was incredible. I was so happy that I caught myself giggling as the horse did a trot/gallop across dirt paths... And I think our guide thought we were a bit crazy. We saw gorgeous landscape and interesting plants everywhere we went! Riding on the ridge of a volcano, 13,000 feet in the air, I suddenly felt incredibly small and extremely awed. I didn't want to leave, but the clouds began to envelope us and I (unknowingly) was getting a horrible sunburn on my face. We descended the mountain over a day ago, but my mind continues to return to this beautiful piece of creation that stilled my heart and quieted my soul.
I am so, so thankful for this opportunity to see the world while student teaching.