The day hike that wasn't!

Cuenca Travel Blog

 › entry 17 of 58 › view all entries
Lake view in Cajar National Park

So if you're told to meet at a hotel at 8:20 a.m. and you stand in it's doorway between 8:10 and 8:35 you'd expect to be found wouldn't you ?  Sadly it was not the case for me so I'm not quite sure what went wrong here.

The friendly staff at the Inca Real hotel jumped on the phone to my tour company to see if they could figure out what went wrong, however the guide was already out in the National park by that point and had apparently checked the hotel so who knows ??? To their credit Terra Diversa then lined up another guy, Francisco, to show up in a 4WD and take me out to the national park to try to meet up with the group. So I got to drive the 45 minutes or so up to the park.  The park itself seems quite beautiful, sort of a cross between the south island of New Zealand and the Scottish highlands, but sadly hiking through it was not to be :(

We arrived up at a hut where the hikers normally set out and Francisco yelled in to the valley to see if we could track them down.

Francisco shouts in to the valley to try to find my guide
  I was then given the less-than-favourable option of ¨walk that way until you find them¨, this is in an area where people have died of exposure, and all I had was a day-pack for daylight walking.  So strangely enough I turned that one down and we drove to a point where their bus might be, but nothing there either.  At this point we admitted defeat and drove back to Cuenca where at least Terra Diversa refunded my money.  So while not how the day was supposed to pan out, I did get a morning 4WD tour of Cajas national park without paying a cent!!

As I left the tour agency I bumped in to Mark and Brooke from Portland, Oregon who I had met at the Black Sheep in Chugchilan.

Maybe my guide is that way
 We decided to head for a drink a bit later and then go looking for the legendary cuy (a.k.a. guinea pig) for dinner.  This is one of those travel moments though where you can't help but get diverted from the task at hand.  After a few beers at the Wunderbar, we started heading for a restaurant that had been recommended but suddenly saw this lines of lights in the sky, then suddenly we hear thunderous explosions and we're pretty sure there's an air raid going on!!! 

We gave up on our guinea pig hunt, and headed towards the source of the noise, where we found that the main square was being used to launch fireworks to celebrate the Foundation of Guayaquil.  I did find it a bit strange that one city celebrates the foundation of another with such passion, especially when the other city isn't even the captial.

No guide to be find, back we go!
  I think we should have a Foundation of Wagga day or something back in Australia, seems like a good excuse :)

The best part though was these fireworks towers that they have set up about 10 metres high, with various wheels and showers of sparks.  We positioned ourselves near one of them, not too far from the VIP balcony nearby.  It was around the time that the VIPs were being showered with sparks that it dawned on us that ¨There are no safety rules here!¨  Sure enough fireworks were shooting off in to the crowd and causing general mayhem. Often a guy would just go in and light them with his bare hands if it looked like one of the massive rockets hadn't gone off, I think they'll be calling him Lefty before long ;)  Suffice to say we backed away to behind some concrete pillars for the rest of the show.  So no hiking or cuy today, but an entertaining day nonetheless (hopefully Mark and Brooke send me some fireworks photos to add to this, I was cameraless)

 

 

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Lake view in Cajar National Park
Lake view in Cajar National Park
Francisco shouts in to the valley …
Francisco shouts in to the valley…
Maybe my guide is that way
Maybe my guide is that way
No guide to be find, back we go!
No guide to be find, back we go!
Cuenca
photo by: Ils1976