On Saturday, my family drove out to a little town called Tingo. We took a right up the hill at the central square and drove up to the little church -- Iglesia San Jose -- pictured here below. Leaving our car looking small and vulnerable, we took a wide dirt path that wound up behind the church.
The wide dirt path became a skinny snaking ravined one, which zig-zagged its way up the mountain side. We were on our way up mountain Ilalo.
At the top of Ilalo, which you can see almost as soon as you leave the center of Quito, is a giant cross. My dad and youngest brother, Caleb, made it to the top, where they had a spectacular view of the valley below.
My mom and I rejoined them at the center square at the base, having had the festive opportunity to witness a wedding party pile into the backs of several pick-up trucks and caravan their way out of town.
I enjoy short field trips like this for two reasons:
One- I am stretching my boundaries, both physically and otherwise. My lungs have not yet fully adjusted to this high altitude, so climbing is an exercise in patience as well as for my lungs.
Two- I get to practice my observation skills. What plants can grow at this altitude? how do farmers grow those potatoes on such a steep slope? how can I adjust my sight to the immense distance I can suddenly see? what birds do I hear? How has water shaped this landscape? wind? fire? people?