Where the hell is the volcano? – Cotapaxi National Park – Ecuador
The bus dropped us at the turn off. It didn’t look right and I was damned if I could see Cotapaxi volcano and its glittering snow-capped peak dominating the sky. The road was deserted and we started to walk the 6km to the entrance. Luckily for us a jeep drove by and offered us a lift – we spoke English, they spoke Spanish but who cared we got along fine. They dropped us at the entrance – still no cone in sight. The driver of the vehicle had a conversation with one of the guards, waved goodbye to us then drove back the way we had come – I had got the impression they were looking for a volcano as well – I was perplexed and confused. I consulted the travel book. A young girl came out to talk to us and confirmed my suspicions. We were at a different park about 36km away from Cotopaxi. The bus had dropped us off at the wrong place. Shit, a 6kmn walk back to the main road.
Some time later and another bus ride – we arrived at the correct entrance. It was overcast and not a hint of a hill let alone a volcano peeping out through the clouds. This time there were taxis’s hovering around waiting to drive us the 6kmn. They wanted a lot of money so we decided to walk after all it was only 6k. How stupid were we? Measuring is obviously not a strong point in Ecuador. Sometime later having tramped for nearly 90 minutes, beaten off snarling snapping village dogs and been covered in white dust by trucks moving vast quantities of the stuff we arrived. We still could not see Cotopaxi. It was 3.30 in the afternoon and the park closed at 5.00pm we decided not to bother. After all if we couldn’t see the bloody thing due to the clouds I’m sure as hell sure no one up there could see out through them. Suddenly, as we were slowly sipping our second coffee to delay the walk back, the clouds briefly parted and lo there appeared unto us a small segment of the fabled cone. Reinvigorated we dusted ourselves down, loaded up with sticks and stones and headed back down the path.
Some time later having arrived back at the main road, flagged a bus down that was headed for Latacunga, we disembarked at the last stop. It didn’t look right………….!