Ecuador 2006:  The Andean Highlands

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Katrien and Nina the 3-month old puppy rest on the top of Cerro Nahuira, a short hike from Hostal Llullu Llama in Isinlivi

Katrien is originally from Holland, and runs the hostal for Jean Brown, who owns Safari Tours.

Katrien and Nina admire the view from the top of Cerro Nahuira, a short hike from Hostal Llullu Llama in Isinlivi.

 Isinlivi and Chugchilán are the most dramatic and gorgeous area of the Andes I have ever seen.

The greenhouse garden at Hostal Llullu Llama, where they also have a composting toilet that uses no water, providing non-smelly compost for the garden.

On 14 July in the morning, Katrien drove me up to what the locals call "las antenas" (the antennas, but you probably knew that, didn't you?), dropping me off at Cerro Guingopana Pass. 

Cerro Guingopana Pass is at 4000m (that's metric for "really absurdly high"), and is the páramo, a grassy, windswept area high up in the Andes.  I saw the "puma head" rock, and then started my descent, admiring the beautiful views along the way.



This is continuing the descent from el páramo, with the tiny village of Isinlivi in the distance.

Much like the other hike, the paths are always well-trodden or obvious paths, so I simply improvised, occasionally cutting through farmer's fields and connecting with other footpaths, occasionally stopping to talk to locals.

The cemetery at Isinlivi, which I saw while returrning from the Cerro Guingopana walk.

This is the very comfortable "hang-out" room in Hostal Llullu Llama, with hammocks hung all over the room.  I read much of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins in this room (when I wasn't in the hammock outside).  We burned Eucalyptus wood in the fireplace.

Another view of the room at Hostal Llullu Llama.


This is the picture hanging in my Hostal Llullu Llama room.  It depicts an Andean tale of an Andean condor whisking away a woman.

The ecologically friendly shower at Hostal Llullu Llama, which recycles the water to a greenhouse garden. 



Katrien watering the vegetable garden at Hostal Llullu Llama in Isinlivi.

NIna the exuberant puppy.  When I first got to the hostal, Nina leaped up and nipped at my tan pants, ripping them.  I sewed them up.  Field repair, crude but effective.

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