Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another Amazing Day To Be Alive...Part 1

We knew this was our only full day in Mindo so we packed it with as many activities as we could squeeze in. I got up early and shot some more photos of the hummingbirds and then did a video tour of the Sachamatia grounds before gathering for a quick breakfast then a cab into Mindo.

We all decided to do a gondola ride over the rainforest followed by a fifty minute hike through to a beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail. We splashed through the pool up to our knees at the base of the waterfall then I couldn't resist going right under. It was one of the best moments of my life! Total abandon and total freedom and total victory all rolled into one. After that, we hiked back out to a smaller waterfall for a quick look but had to get going again to catch our cab. A couple of us took our time just so we could stop and listen to the silence of nature - it was a really special moment.

Once we arrived back in town we went our separate ways for the afternoon. Doug and Michelle did some shopping, Autumn and I went horseriding, and Danny went in search of a local who would loan him a dirt bike for an hour. As Danny drove by a few minutes later, our helpful tourist guy William laughed his head off!

Autumn and I headed out on our ride just as the biggest downpour since we arrived let loose. By now we were all used to getting wet so we just kept on going until our guide stopped at a deserted campground for a break. Good move! Just as the sun broke through the clouds we were able to walk down to a gorgeous river, check out some beautiful tropical flowers, and discover a cool outdoor shower that someone had rigged up. After the break we headed back into town to drop off our horses and walk back to our meeting spot. Along the way I had one of the most thrilling experiences of my entire life.

We popped our heads through a cement doorway to see the local soccer pitch. A few guys were kicking the ball around and, I can`t say for sure, but I think it may have been the local team out for a practice. We sat down to watch and take a couple of photos but before long they invited me out on the field to play with them. It was one of those "I can`t believe this is happening" moments that I will treasure forever. Who ever expects to play on a soccer pitch in a tiny town in the middle of Ecuador? I certainly didn`t. The day was only half over and I`d already had the time of my life...

For complete photos from the journey click here.

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