|This major trek takes you through a spectacular 3 to 4 day walk through the Paramo and an exciting opportunity to see the Andean Condor (near extinction) with plenty of snow crested volcanoes in the background of your journey.|
The hike is definitely challenging through some hard terrain and fresh trails including bogs as well as sojourning through Cotopaxi National Park as well as the Antisana Ecological Reserve.
Note: It is very important to take waterproof attire and a good pair of rubber boots as well as sleeping bags for the various camping sites on route as well as ample food, compasses and a map of the trail.
The trial starts by traversing a mud crusted path to the right of Rio Tambo, 90 minutes from Quito on the route to Baeza where you will find a bridge with mules and guides next to a group of kiosks.
You will cross over to the left of the river then go up a livestock path to a ridge on the left side before continuing on over the ridge in a southeasterly direction towards the laguna Vulcán (Laguna Tumiguina). Follow the trail upwards to the end of this lake (South direction) till you find a river gauging station then onto the junction where 3 rivers converge and look for the trail in the center of Quebrada Sunfohuaycu and the stream and head due east. Then regress back up grassy slopes to a muddy path into the cloud forest area.
East of the cloud forest you will hike to the slopes of Antisanilla then ascend further towards the area of Antisana via cross-country until the land levels out and onto an impressive lake often surrounded by foggy mists named laguna Santa Lucia home to a group of roaming wild horses and Andean gulls which is around 5 hours from the previous lake, laguna Tumiguina, here you may wish to
camp the night and soak in the serene ambiance. To the western rim of the lake you will head via a gravel route and on through the Paramo and onto the road to Pintag passing Hacienda Antisana where you may be charged US $10.00 for crossing this lands although as this is a retreat there likely will be no one there to trouble you for such costs.
The journey from here is nonspecific in regards to a trial by you may cross over an area that closely resembles a golf course area which takes you on past the northern sector of Loma Mangourcu and down to Quebrada Jatunhuaycu. Once you've traversed the small stream walk to the pass in an easterly direction.
You will then encounter some rather springy plants and rather flexible plants making the going hard before walking through the main pass and down to further heavy going marsh type lands to a wide valley area. From here you meet further marsh lands a further gravel
filled area and then journey on to Quebrada Pullurima Viejo.
From here walk towards the trail that takes you up the hilltop then hike down to Ladrillos then climb the next incline which will position you further down into a U forged valley of Quebrada Huallanta. Quebrada Huallanta approximately 6-7 hours past Laguna Santa Lucia where you can view different types of Condor assuming it's a gorgeous sun filled horizon. Here you will also find camping sites a welcome resting place after a hard days trekking.
The next day you can journey up the valleys core to the beginning of Sincholagua flanked by attractive red cliff faces and onwards to a waterfall via a steep incline to the right hand side of the fall. Eventually you'll reach a medium peak on the adjacent left which will meander further round to a pass and a further preceding peak.
From here hike down further springy type vegetation slopes to the bottom
then walk the trail that forms the right hand side of the Quebrada Merced valley. From the ridge head towards a car track which takes you down to a bridge which takes you over the Rio Pita, it is around 6 hours from Quebrada Huallanta and on to the Río Pita bridge.
Upon passing the bridge you will hike over some washed out gravel plains then arrive at a junction where you can take a small route crossing the plain to the climbers refuge. There is a nice camping site here on the back side of a lake known as Laguna Limpiopungo. From the refuge you can usually hitch a ride onto the Panamericana or, in contrast hike a good 5 hours from Rio Pita. Once you are on the Panamericana highway there will be many buses heading to
the Northern or southern routes according to your agenda.
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