How to keep the home fires burning...

Chugchilan Travel Blog

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Today is our last day in Chugchilan and the Black Sheep Inn.  When we leave tomorrow, we will have been here for 8 nights.  Longer than we'd anticipated but this place has become almost a home away from home.

After breakfast, we went for a short hike on the ridge surrounding the Black Sheep Inn.  We had an apple leftover from lunch so we stopped an fed the llamas.  Most of them weren't interested but Lulu was!  Lulu is one of the older llamas at the Black Sheep.  She is the one who searched us for treats a couple days ago.  This time she practically mauled Rachel and I to get the apple we had!

After our hike, I took a nap while they warmed the sauna and hot tub for us.

  That's right, there's a sauna and hot tub at the Black Sheep.  The hot tub is pretty small but the sauna is awesome.  Both of them get hot(!) and they do the trick.  After our soak/sweat, we headed down for a massage.  Massage is new to the Black Sheep Inn.  The masseuse, Linda, is a friend of the owners from Seattle.  She is at the Inn for two weeks as an experiment.  The owners of the Black Sheep would like to get a couple of the locals trained in massage to expand the offerings of the hotel and the earning potential of the locals.  The massage was great!  Linda found some amazing knots in my calves.

Dinner was Mexican food with guacamole!  I was really missing guac.

After dinner, we started packing up our bags to for the return to Quito.

  At one point we started hearing a lot of screams from outside....

"Fire!!  Fire!!"

I grabbed the extinguisher from our room and ran to the cabin just down the hill from us.  The roof of our friends' cabin was on fire!  I jumped in and started blasting away with the fire extinguisher and got the obvious flames extinguished.

The roof of the cabin was made of two layers: the upper, a straw thatch; the lower, wood planks with tar paper.  There was a 2-3" gap between the two layers.  This is where the fire was smoldering/burning.  Every once in a while, the embers would flare up near the edge of the roof and we were able to shoot them down with the extinguishers or later, the garden hoses.  But the fire still smoldered towards the center of the roof on the bottom of the layer of straw thatch.  The roof had to come off.

The co-owner, Andy, and a couple of his employees climbed up on the hot roof and started ripping sections of the thatch off.  Hot spots were doused with the hose until the fire was fully out.  During this time, Rachel and I remained on the ground and helped with hose management and looking for hot spots.

In total, we probably spent two hours fighting the fire.  No one was hurt, although Andy did develope a bit of a cough from smoke inhalation.  The building was mostly okay except for the roof damage and a little water staining on the interior walls.

Crazy night!

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photo by: eefab