Cotopaxi, the volcano that resembles Ecuador itself.  It is the imagery of Ecuador.  Beautiful, conical, and covered in snow.  Standing over 5900m tall, covered in everlasting snow, Cotopaxi looks like the south american version of Mount Fuji.  Except now, Cotopaxi started it’s erupting process I think late August.  From then its just sulfuric ash and smoke coming out of the slanted crater.  That might scare a few, but it makes Cotopaxi more interesting. 
At the suggestion of my friend, I went to Secret Garden Cotopaxi, located north of the park, amid a bunch of farms, and in front of volcano Pasochoa.  The place is quite expensive, but I have learned of you choose the tent option, you can save some plata.  You don’t even need a tent, the camping area has a roof, mattress and blankets, the only thing it doesn’t have is walls.  You also get to wake up just at the right time to see sunrise or whatever. 
On a clear day, you can see Volcano Antisana, Sincholahua, Cotopaxi, Rumiñahui, the Ilinizas Twins, Corazon by sitting on the porch.  View is gorgeous, but the place is surrounded by farms with dick head owners, so you actually don’t have much freedom.  I feel like I would get cabin fevers if I just sit there all day. 
They have a hot tub that I never used because my feet are so dirty from hiking all the time, I don’t want to contaminate the tub (dead serious).  They have slackline set up in the back, which I love.  Food is included and there is like 5 meals a day.  Also, unlimited tea and coffee with my name written all over them.  They do activities but most of them are expensive.  People work there who aren’t the cooks and maids are volunteers.  They are pretty cool and avid hikers who go around hiking all the volcanoes when they are not working. 
The owner, whom I think is a nice guy, but you can’t really have a conversation with him, because he is always trying to advertise for his hostel. 
Problem I had there was that all the activities cost money and some of the volcano hikes should be free.  I Didnt want to do any of them for a fee, but I got lucky.  They were going on a scouting trip to volcán corazon to see if they want to do a route there too.  I just had to pay for the ride and two others were down as well.  Volcán corazon was beautiful at 4788m.  The top resembles the shape of a heart therefore called corazon.  The hike was a lot of rock scrambling, but we done it anyways and it was a fun hike.  The crazy part of the hike is how the driver, Darwin, managed to drive his land cruiser through tons of dips half way up the mountain and down.  I don’t think cars actually go through that way but he did it.  I was extremely impressed. 
The next day, I had a handshake deal with the driver Carlos who was picking up the people going to do mountain biking on Ruminahui.  He was going to give me a ride there so I can explore the mountains and join everyone else when they are done with biking so I don’t have to pay.  However, a lot people decided to do biking last minute so there wasn’t enough space for me.  Instead, I helped the people work there putting rocks to pave the road for some free beers.  The beers are quite expensive there too and I drank quite a lot so everything worked out pretty well, and I can check off volunteering during travel off this list I don’t have. 
There want much to do at night.  The first night, everyone played kings cup with strange international rules and other card games.  It was pretty fun.  The second night, everyone got tired, so not much went on.  However, the sky was extremely clear and beautiful through out the day and night.  The stars, couple shooting stars a s the distant lightning amid a wall of cloud were a gorgeous site to see.  Every 5 seconds a purple light flashes as lightning strikes and you can see a silhouette of Cotopaxi.  These momenta make me want to have a good camera with manual exposure and ISO settings.  The distant lightning also signifies the rain that is to come the next day.
I forgot to mention that day was the most clear the central Ecuador area has seen for weeks.  I’m glad I was able to peel off the veil of cloud and see the fuming Cotopaxi and other volcanoes, because the next day, all was gone. 
I also got the news that the agents weren’t able to find another person to do Cayambe.  They offered me one on one guide for prices ranging from 360 to 500, you know, the money I don’t have. 
So, therefore I decided to spend my last two days here in Riobamaba, the closest city to Chimborazo, maybe I can make some magic happen and get on a last minute expedition. 


Volcán corazon


Cotopaxi from Parque ilinizas


Cotopaxi from secret garden.


The Ilinizas Twins


Sunset over corazon


Scrambling on corazon


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