Day 56: Isivlini – Chugchilán; the quilotoa loop

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019.

Todays plan:

Isinlivi to Chugchilán, Trecking the Quilotoa loop

Today you will start the trek from your hostel in Isivlini. You will walk from Isivlini to the village of Chugchilán. Isivlini and Chugchilán are little Andean villages, that both have a lot of charm. It is a great hike of about 6 hours, that will take you through beautiful scenery and some great look-out points. You will take a box lunch and depending on your tour, a horse or mule might come along to carry your stuff.A guide will cone with you, so you won’t get lost. Make sure you bring enough water.

You will spend the night in hostel Mama Hilda. After you have checked-in you can go for a walk to explore the area. When you come back at night, you can smell the typical Ecuadorian dishes in the hostel. You will enjoy a nice dinner and afterwards you can take a cup of coffee or beer and sit in front of the fireplace and enjoy the company of others. It can be a cold night so remember to bring a sweater.”

Night is cold. My fire keeps me warm. I get up and open the curtains, wonderful view, wonderful weather. I go for Llullu Llama breakfast.

There is only few people. All are excited about starting the Quilotoa Loop trek. The Quilotoa Loop is named after the Quilotoa volcano crater lake. It is a three to five day self guided hike (some like me cheat and take a local guide, getting lost is usual here). It starts at the quilotoa loop and goes up and down via Chugchilán to Isivlini and Latacunga. As the last part is said to be not the most beautiful, I cheat and start at Isivlini, but do it oppisite (uphill). I see this as training for Huayhuash. So, I donot do the loop, I skip coming from and going to Latacunga and try to stay in proper hostels.

After breakfast I get my lunch box (sandwiches, fruits, orange juice, sweets). I put the stuff I donot eat in the side pockets of my backpack for the local kids. I pay and meet my guide Francisco. He doesnot speak English, but some words German. He takes my base luggage sack and ties the sack on his horse. He definitely was no boy scout.

I leave the calf size cuddle doggie and my first llama.

Then we start to hike. We cross two canyons with rivers in the base. The path crosses roads and often turns somewhere without any sign into the bush, up super small farm paths, narrow canyons, steep up, steep down. The horse follows everywhere. He doesnot like the bridge and prefers river crossing instead. My luggage stays dry, though.

If the sun is out it gets super hot, as soon as the sun is behind clouds the temperature drops …

It is very idyllic. A lot of cornfields, quinoa and cows. I give all fruits, orange juice, biscuits to the local kids. They are super shy and all have super red cheeks. If I would have to live in this cold, I would have blue cheeks.

I encounter different wildlife.

Lots of landslides, the volcanic soil is very fruitful, but unstable.

The path is not easy to find. My guide tries to explain every plant and its medicinical purpose.

We cross the bridge.

Finally we arrive in Chugchilán in Mama Hilda Hostel. The distance is garmin fenix typical incorrect, the elevation gains show the recalibration effects GPS vs DMH.

The room has a heating. I turn it on immediately. My Adapterplug and USB is not to built to be inbetween the heater and a 0.8mm copper cable.

At least the water is hot in the shower. I go for dinner at mama hilda restaurant. The temperature is low, very low. At least the Quinoa soup is hot and a lot.

Accomodation: Hostal Mama Hilda

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