|(Left: Jeff, Lauren, Siri, Mike, Melinda, Brendan)|
Pichincha is an active stratovolcano that has been quiet since 1999. This mountain forms the western slope of Quito and the gondola that zips you up to 4108 meters leaves right from the city.
Our enthusiastic group of hikers jumped on the early ride to the top and managed to avoid crowed hiking for most of the day. Along the way, we meet many friendly Ecuadorians that were very pleased to hear how much we have been enjoying their country. Not only did they give us advice on more hikes, but they encouraged and advised us all the way to the top of the mountain.
This proved to be a great beginner hike for all of us. There are a few technical areas, but mainly you just need to keep a steady pace. The biodiversity and colors were simply amazing for the entire elevation gain (next post). I was very pleased to go with a group of new friends that kept a great mood all day - constantly floating in the clouds - figuratively and literally.