Equator Gringos

January 14, 2009

Laguna Cuicocha

Filed under: Ecuador — lstollin @ 6:16 pm

resized-IMG_3092 Our ever-enterprising 7th grade Science teacher, Diann, got a bunch of us together at the end of November to do a hike she’d had her eye on: Laguna Cuicocha (Guinea Pig Lake).  A couple of hours north of Quito, near the famous market town of Otavalo, here we have yet another gorgeous crater lake, except that this one has two islands in the middle, separated by the thinnest of reed-filled channels.  On a previous occasion we’d taken the boat around one island and through the little slip between them, which was really nice.  This time we were determined to walk the rim.

Fourteen years ago on our honeymoon we’d been to this lake and started hiking counterclockwise, so I had a vision based on that half-hour walk that the whole 5 hour trail would be a naked, baking-in-the-sun ridge hike.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  We started out walking through sun-dappled pine forest with gorgeous views of the lake.  Yet my favorite part was that the trail didn’t offer constant, satiating views of the lake, but ducked away from the crater rim for a time, through scrub, cloud forest, and paramo, then swung back to offer a fresh but equally gorgeous perspective. 

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