Wed 2nd May
An earlier than anticipated wake up due to someone going to the loo, it’s not the desired time after last nights wine. But I’m now awake so I read through all the happy birthday messages on my phone and Facebook.
Arse in gear, I get ready and head out – today I’m hiking up Cotopaxi volcano. Rather than attempting this one myself, I splashed out the 55$ as a birthday treat and am doing the tour!
There’s a girl from my hostel going too and we meet 2 other Brit’s at the meeting point. Around half 7 our bus comes and we’re off.
After an hour we stop for breakfast which is included in the price. It was great – pancake, fruit, an omelette and bread! How tough is this hike going to be if we’re getting all this! One girl is really struggling with altitude here and we’ve not started yet. We all worry she won’t be able to do it but a cup of cocoa leaf tea seems to sort her out!
15 mins later we stop again to buy snacks for the trek – a lot buy the cocoa leaf sweets on offer.
After about another hour, we arrive at Cotopaxi national park and after being registered, it’s a bumpy, windy 7km drive up to the start point.
The weather is against me again. It’s freezing, raining and foggy so the view is almost nada!
We start the trek at 4500m above sea level and although most are fine, a different girl is struggling with the effects of the altitude and so she walks with one of the guides at a much slower pace as the rest of us carry on up.
We stop every 10-15 mins, for a photo break or for people to catch their breath.
No-one is feeling giddy or sick or anything but we’re all feeling the shortness of breath.
Along the way we get the odd break in the clouds and can see the valley below.
Further up the clouds start to break and we get a glimpse of the beautiful snow covered Cotopaxi.
At about 4750m, with only another 100 left to go, every 5 mins walking feels like 15! I’m so excited to get a tiny glimpse of the snow covered peak…despite it not being much!
A bit further up, it gets slightly better, but nothing like I was expecting
With a slower pace than one would normally walk, we reach not the summit, but our target point…we’ve scaled to 4864m.
I was again massively disappointed by not getting a proper view of this awesome volcano. We got only to see snippets rather than this (pinched off Google). How awesome wd it have been to see this beauty in all its glory!
Myself and a few others would have liked to have gone up a bit further…even if only to break the 5000m but hey ho. Im thrilled to be here and what a way to spend my bday.
We rest and warm up in the little coffee shop and tuck in to some snacks. U can tell we’re at high altitude as my bag of Doritos are full of air like when on an aeroplane!
We set off back down which was slightly harder than coming down Acatenango but still quicker than going up. Just as we start though, it’s starts snowing which didn’t help.
It snows, then rains all the way down with the wind blowing. We dished and freezing by the time we get back to the bus making most of us feel one we really can’t be arsed for the next part of the adventure. But we’re here and we won’t get to do it again so half of us decide to go ahead.
Mountain bikes down off the roof, helmets on and a brief safety briefing, 7 of us jet off down the windy volcano slopes.
I’m not a lover of bombing downhill on a bike but it did remind me of my mate Steve who I do a lot of these things with back home and he would have loved it.
The bus follows at a slow pace behind just incase anyone comes off or decide they’ve had enough.
Im not really enjoying it and the thought to get on the bus crosses my mind a few times but I don’t bail on challenges so persevere to the end where, freezing, wet, with a sore arse and bones shook so much that they nearly rattled I reach the lake that marks the end.
Now it’s over, on reflection it was quite cool and not something many can say they have done on their birthday.
Lunch is also included on this tour and we stop at the same place as for breakfast for a late lunch. Again, this is a massively hearty meal and delicious.
Back in the old town, I go back to the lovely bakery En Dulce and buy a birthday cake to go with dinner tonight.
After a long day, it’s a hot shower and some chill time. Being on the go and constantly meeting and talking to new people is quite tiring – I know, I know – poor me right!
Time for dinner, everyone meets at the communal dining table. The food here is awesome, there’s just no point in heading out (plus it’s usually peeing down outside!)
Everyone here wishes me happy birthday and asks how my day has been which is lovely. Then the staff bring out my cake and sing happy bday.
Tonight is happy hour which is unlimited Cuba libre’s from 8-9 for only $5 – but the hostel give me mine for free so a few of us take advantage of this and drink some wine
Despite telling my sister I was knackered and was going to do nothing but watch tv tonight, I had both a fab bday day and night.