After the lengthy entry of last time, I thought I would try a shorter one. 🙂 Yesterday Aaron and I went on a grueling hike. It starts just past this zoo that has a jaguar, jagaurundi, spider monkeys and various other types of monkeys, bears, various birds (including every variation of parrot and parakeet), three types of tortoises (including the giant Galapagos tortoises), ocelots, and lots of other animals. It was nice. We then we started this hike that takes you up the opposite mountain facing the volcano. The top is called Ojos del Diablo (Devil´s Eyes) as well as the site of numerous antennas known by everyone as Los Antennas. Well really all I can say is that before you plan to undertake a hike make sure your map is to scale and probably ask someone about it first just to make sure. We started up this trekking path that led us into this family´s property. They told us if we went through and kept following it up it would be about 30 minutes. Well what really happened is that after hiking uphill for like 40 minutes our trail just ended in the pasture. We could see an antenna above us and started trekking straight uphill for the longest time over this thick grassy pasture that is slowly all slumping from the steepness of the hill and the bulls that roam it eating. After finally making it to that antenna we realize that we still had quite a ways to get to the main area. Though at this point we finally found a road and took it the rest of the way, which made for considerably better walking then the overgrown path we had been subjecting ourselves too. We we finally made it to the top it was a major victory for us. That was probably the hardest hike we have been on if only due to the elevation change. I wish I could find the elevation of everything. All I know is that this amazingly nice French couple were driving down as we were walking down and they offered us a ride. We of course took it.
They were an older couple, though still working, who have traveled more of the world than I can currently imagine and I will soon have most of South America under my belt. Well, taking into consideration that the road has switchbacks, their GPS at the point they picked us up at said 4.6 km (approx 2.8 miles). This means that must have hiked more than that because we not only hiked up but across as well. After that trek I am seriously considering purchasing a GPS unit to map the elevation and distances that we trek for the rest of the trip. We really did have the best views though. And after arriving at the road near the top we realized that we probably could have hiked up the road the whole time rather than aimlessly wonder through some random trail that is obviously not frequented with any steady supply of hikers.
Well after that exhausting ordeal, we napped and were not able to do much else. Though we did meet a brother and sister traveling team from California in our hostel whom we checked out the Baños night life with. That was an entertaining experience of its own. There is this little shuttle train that rides around Baños at night that is decorated to look like a dinosaur and is Flintstones themed. We of course had to get a ride in it. At one point they were at a wide intersection and made like six circles.
Finally, today, we experienced the most thrilling activity. We jumped off a really high bridge while being attached to two harnesses and two ropes. After swan diving off the bridge, you eventually reach the end of the ropes and just swing back and forth below. Then they lower you to the ground while the adrenaline of what seems like free falling in a plummet to the death is still surging through your body. I almost wish we had done this sooner because I definitely would have wanted to jump more than once. Though I suppose we will probably find other bridge jumping or bungee experiences later on. Well that is all for now. We leave for Puyo in the morning. It is directly East of Baños but out of the Andes, so we will officially be entering the Amazon region.