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22
Jan '12

Quest for Tungurahua

Nebraska's "high" point

Growing up, our family did a lot of hiking. My parents had a goal to climb all the high points in the US so, we were always going from state to state checking off high points (I think my Dad is up to 42). Sometimes, the hikes were really easy – Nebraska’s high point is in the middle of a corn field, Iowa’s was in a hog farm and New Jersey’s was a random unmarked intersection.

But, many other hikes were like pulling teeth, with 3 ornery children complaining the whole way. So, our parents came up with all sorts of ways to try to keep us going. My sister just needed her “power rock” charged up. Dad would find a rock, rub it really fast and then hand it to Julie, who would run down the trail as fast as she could…for about 50 ft. at which time, she’d want to stop for a snack. For my brother, my dad would play on his competitive spirit and race him from landmark to landmark. Dad quickly realized that this was a bad deal for him as it meant he also had to run from spot to spot. Eventually he just paid Jon money to hike in silence (as otherwise he was singing 99 bottles of beer on the wall over and over again…).

As for me, well I have to admit I was probably the worst of the bunch. Being the youngest, I was well versed in the ways of complaining, manipulation and just plain stubborness. But, my parents knew my weakness–shopping! They would tell me grand stories of the stores we would find at the top of the next hill. I had visions of 7-11’s and toy stores keeping me going. When we finally reached the top, I was normally disappointed by the selection….twigs, leaves and the occasional interesting rock. But, I did reach the top and these days, I count hiking as one of my favorite activities.

There are many hikes around Banos and Aaron and I couldn’t wait to start hiking. Saturday was our first opportunity and we eagerly set out to conquer a quick hike up to La Virgen, a statue that stands above Banos. The “hike” was pretty much 30 minutes of stairs up to the statue.

The never-ending stairs to La Virgen

The elusive Tungurahua

A good work-out but not really the “hike” we were looking for. We were really hoping to get our first glance of Tungurahua (the volcano over Banos) so we found a trail above La Virgen and started hiking up. We thought we would go for another 15-20 minutes and then loop back down. Well, an hour and a half later, after climbing about 2600 ft. up, we reached a volcano look-out point. The views were stunning, but the clouds still kept Tungurahua just out of view.

 

 

Rather than risk the same way back down the mountain we had just climbed, we decided to try to follow another route that looked like it would get us back to town. After a near miss with an angry cow, we were on our way down.

Such an angry toro!

At this point, my feet were blistered and my legs exhausted. I wasn’t quite prepared for this scale of hike yet and wasn’t sure how I was going to keep going. Aaron had walked on ahead a little bit and suddenly, turns around and tells me, “Abby, there’s a store right up ahead!” I appreciated the encouragement, but I’d grown up a little since the last time that worked and just kept my same slow pace. But, lo and behold, I came around the corner and sure enough, there was a little “Cafeteria.” There are no roads up to this point and I still don’t know how they get food there, but the fact is, there was a store, right down the path just as Mom and Dad told me so many times. And that was enough to keep me going, all the way back home!

Can you spot "La Cafeteria?" (Hint: It's yellow)

The quest for Tungurahua continues…

3 comments »

3 comments to “Quest for Tungurahua”

  1. april Says:

    🙂 Europe was like that too!!! We would go on long hikes way up high and all of a sudden there was a beautiful little cabin/restaurant…usually the best food ever and great views!! I am glad you made it!!

  2. Don Berg Says:

    Pleased to hear you have arrived and are settling in. Judy and I are enjoying the travelog! God bless!

  3. Abby Says:

    April-When did you go to Europe and why haven’t I heard about this trip? Do tell-Sounds awesome!

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