Ecuador 2006:  The Andean Highlands

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After eating the Rumi Wilco's homemade granola, fresh yogurt from the organic crepe place in the main square, and fresh fruit, we set out on horse for the waterfall on a trip that took us near Podacarpus National Park. 

This is a small church on the first part of the route up to the waterfall.


We rode uphill on rocky paths, crossing and recrossing streams, stopping off at a cabin at the top of a rise for some delicious tuna sandwiches made by the guide, shown here assisting Naomi.

After eating our tuna sandwiches, Lorenzo and I hiked down to the waterfall.

One of the many blissful things about Vilcabamba are its $8 hour-long massages. After the jarring 4-hour horse ride, all of us went for massages.



Hangin' out near the Rumi Wilco Nature Reserve.

Drying beans at the Rumi Wilco Nature Reserve.

The main house at Rumi Wilco Nature Reserve, where Orlando and Alicia Falco live.  Orlando built this house over 25 years ago when they first purchased the property and turned it into a nature reserve.

This house, like the pole house, are on stilts because they sit in a flood plain.  The Río Chamba has only overflowed once in the 25 years that the Falcos have been there, but that was a terrible flood that left fish wiggling on their property, and badly damaged the cement bridge that extends over the Río Chamba, leading to Rumi Wilco.

The Orlandos always keep their rubber boots ready.  Main house at the Rumi Wilco Nature Reserve and Ecolodge.


Coffee beans, shade grown at the nature reserve.

In the 1970s, people flocked here for a psychotropic cactus called San Pedro, endemic to the valley.  Some of this cactus is on the Rumi Wilco Nature Reserve, although of course the Falcos forbid its use on their premises.



Trees on the bank of the Río Chamba.

Earth pillars, Rumi Wilco Nature Reserve.

Earth pillars are made of boulder clay, a chaotic jumble of rounded boulders, smaller rocks, pebbles, and sand.  Earth pillars can be seen around the Vilcabamba area, and developed where small patches on hillside spurs were protected from rain erosion by a harder layer of rock or by dense vegetation.

Cactus and flowers at the Rumi Wilco Nature Reserve.  

A beautiful rainbow over the trees of the Rumi Wilco Nature Reserve in beautiful Vilcabamba.


Ferns, one of the many varieties of plants at the nature reserve in Vilcabamba.

A tall tree catches the rays of the setting sun at the Rumi Wilco Nature Reserve in Vilcabamba.


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