Another week has past, yet my tapestry for art class has only grown about half an inch… When are those due again? Last weekend I had planned on getting at least half way done on the way to Saraguro, however, sleep, of course, overcame me. I had my first mountain hiking experience in Saraguro and wow was that difficult. I was sadly mistaken to realize that there was not only one hike, but one each day. Imagine my surprise. the first hike was supposed to take less than an hour to get to the top of the mountain. I believe I made it in an hour and a half. It was only a little horrifying to scale the side of a mountain with a bajillion foot drop less than a foothold away from my side, especially with the trail consisting mostly of loose dirt, however, I was very pleased with myself that I decided to go for it and that I made it to the top!
While we were up there, I learned that the path we had hiked was once part of the Inca trail, and we were actually sitting where an Inca civilization had once lived. We took a while to rest, and I closed my eyes and tried to imagine what it may have looked like and how their lives may have been. I´ve never really been that interested in history, but it really struck me that people who lived thousands of years ago had been in the exact same spot that I had worked so hard to reach.
The second day the hike was much shorter (yay!). However, it was much steeper (NO!). We first hiked to see a waterfall. Now, in my mind, this waterfall was going to be pretty much an exact copy of the one I always think of when someone says waterfall: the waterfall from Pocahontas. It ended up being skinnier than my body because right now, Ecuador is in dry season. I was a bit diaspointed, to say the least, until I learned that we were hiking on to a cave. In my opinion, the cave was much more impressive. It looked like we were inside of a giant wave carved into the rock. It was definitely worth the extra exhaustion to see the view from inside the cave to the mountains that surrounded us.
I found the weekend activities really interesting, especially those late night ones that were not included in the schedule 😉 These would most likely include, but are not limited to, salsa dancing with my Ecuadorian sister, watching my friends attempt to build a fire inside of our hostel in Saraguro, having late night adventures that include ridiculous missions, and getting busted taking pictures at the museum in Cuenca. All of these decisions I must say I do not regret!
We have less than a week left here in Ecuador and I think that I will find myself missing it a lot more than I anticipate. Our guides from CEDEI have become more like friends to us and I have already learned so much about the other students on this trip. The other night in Saraguro, my friend Jimmy was saying how it was so neat that we all came together from different places, but we have found so much in common. We may have never met each other at Augie, but through this trip we have already found irreplaceable friendships in one another. I will miss my family here in Ecuador and the amazing Ecuadorian friends that I have made, but nevertheless, I am excited to see what Peru will bring.