The day dawned with sun and some clouds, a perfect start. B and I had a nice breakfast of eggs (I ate hers too. No, I didn’t simply distract her with a “Hey, look at that!” while pointing at something behind her and Bogart them, she offered. I guess less than cement-set heuvos revueltos aren’t to her liking. Of course, being the gentleman that I am, accepted her offer, and snarfed like less than a gentleman.) We packed up (we moved residences), parked our bags behind the reception desk, hopped in a taxi and motored to the TeleferíQo cable car to ride up to about 13,000 feet (4000 meters). We got there early, before it opened, because of the weather forecast: afternoon chance of rain beginning about 2:30: 100%, and lasting through the evening. No thanks. Neither of us relished the thought of hiking down in mud and rain, so it was early, in order to be back ASAP. I thought we could do the round trip in less than 4 hours, and since the cable car began operations at 9:30, that’d get us back by 2:00-ish, factoring in the time it takes to ride up.
We rode up in the second car of the day. The first car was a family on vacation from Wisconsin. I sleuthed that fact much like Holmes would’ve by the plethora of Wisconsin-based clothing they were sporting. Equally obviously, they weren’t going to the summit, as the teen daughter was wearing pink Crocs. I guess B was my Watson.
I also scoped out the others lining up early, and it appeared I was the only one in shorts, and B in leggings. Neither of us had trekking poles, either. Huh. We both had multiple layers on above, and raincoats and the lower part of my REI zip-offs in my pack, but still... were we deluding ourselves? The temperature was in around 50°F/12°C — not unpleasant in shorts when expending effort. I guess time would tell. We rode to the top, disembarked, and off we went. Target: Cumbre Ruca Pichincha.
Once we got past the loose scree, things got worse. Now it was the scree-source, rocks that required hands and feet and waist-high step ups. Perseverance is B’s middle name, because she kept on keeping on. And... we finally summited 15,406 feet! My new all-time high. Woo!. It was a great feeling to make it. Maybe it was the light headedness of being oxygen deprived. Either way, I’m taking it. Now, it was time to descend. Up is one thing, down is much more challenging. For me, once we got past the rocks, it was time to channel The Police song “Walking on the Moon” cuz it was all giant steps. B was not quite so into the method and came down under more control. That’s probably why she didn’t end up on the ground like I did. Heck, I only did three times and only one of those really hurt. No blood, though, so an all around win.
We did get some views through the clouds on the way down, intimating what it would be like on a clear day. Of course, on a clear day, I’d have needed sunscreen, which I didn’t take.