We were up early today to get a taxi to the Ofelia bus terminal in Quito then caught a bus for the two hour drive to Mindo, a small town west of Quito. At 8:25, we crossed the equator into the northern hemisphere, then crossed back over again an hour later in the mountians on the way to our final destination. The scenery on this drive is absolutely gorgeous with mountain peaks and volcanoes passing by on each side but my heart was missing the people we met in the community ADP's last week.
Once we arrived at Sachamatia, our lodge just outside Mindo, we went to our rooms, unpacked, and headed for Mindo in a taxi. Well, a taxi of sorts. A cab out here is actually the back of a pick-up truck - some covered, some not. It was a lot of fun bumping along the rural roads into Mindo but not nearly as much fun as riding open-top, standing up on the way home. Somewhere on YouTube I think some video will show up that I'll link to later.
In Mindo we had some great help from William at the Bird of Paradise tourist shop. He would prove to be a continous source of good information and was incredibly patient as we had loads of questions. If you ever make it this way, be sure to give him your business. You won't be sorry.
Since it was now getting on in the afternoon we only had time to do one activity - ziplining across the canopy of the rain forest. I'd never done it before but had an amazing time flying up to 700 feet above the forest floor. It was amazing! Especially doing the superman - flying face forward across the sky. Amazing.
On the last ride I got to do the butterfly - flying upside down, spread-eagled to the end of the line. I hadn't realized it, but I had cut my forehead with my camera when I passed it off to Danny before getting latched on. When I arrived on the other side the staff were freaking out a bit. Apparently one side of my forehead was covered in blood as I came flying in. They came running with cotton balls and alcohol and I think were quite worried about me but I was feeling totally exhilerated and wasn't at all concerned with the loss of a little blood. I got cleaned up and waited for the rest of the group who had a blast as well.
From there, we decided to walk back into Mindo instead of taking a cab. Such a great decision! It was a beautiful walk down a narrow road through dense forest, past rivers and old cabins. We had some good discussion, photo taking, and just tried to soak everything in. It's really hard to believe we are in such a beautiful place. It just doesn't seem real.
Back in Mindo we caught the open-top cab back to the hotel for dinner and then a soak in the hot tub. What a fantastic day!
For complete photos from the journey click here.