On Sunday, I went to the Antisana ecological reserve with my host family. The drive was just over an hour from their house, but none of them had been there before. That seems to be the case with most Ecuadorians. Their country isn't incredibly large, but most of them don't travel within it, even those who can afford to. Antisana is a volcano southeast of quito and the reserve has a huge lagoon and tons of birds and is gorgeous. My host brother and I climbed to a peak close to the lagoon and the air is so thin that we kept having to stop even though we probably only went up 200m. It was beautiful though and totally worth the views.
On our drive back from Antisana, my life flashed before my eyes. They drive pretty crazy here in Ecuador and if you've got a nose in front of another vehicle, you've got the right of way... but my host dad was really hungry and snapped and driving like a raging lunatic. All of the rest of us were super nervous and my host mom and brother kept asking him to slow down to no avail. Thankfully, we made it back safely.
Yesterday, Tuesday, a bunch of us went to Pichincha, the Volcano that lies to the West of Quito. There is an amusement park at the base and then the teleferico is a cable car that goes up the side of it. We rode the teleferico up to 4.050m and then kept hiking upwards. There were trail rides available, but I didn't have enough money for one if I wanted to eat lunch so I kept hiking with my friend Sam. We just kept going and the air was so thin. My heart was pounding and we'd stop and I feel better but then after about 10 more steps I was dead again. We pushed on for a while and kept going over peaks thinking we must be at the top, but after we decided to turn around, a guide was telling his group that they had another hour of hiking to reach the summit. It was still an amazing hike, and I was super proud of myself for going so far.