Today and tomorrow are holidays here in Ecuador, and so we used this free day to go see one of Ecuador bigger mountains - Antisana. The land around the base is privately owned by one big hacienda, so we had to get special permission to come in. However, probably because of the limited access nature of the place, the road was in great condition and the wildlife abundant. Antisana sits in the parramo, a great expanse of wet grasslands that is both extremely diverse and important to Ecuador. As I understand it, most of Ecuador's water comes from the water reserves of the parramo lands (and as a result of this ever-growing dependence, there are many problems conserving and protecting it.)
Above is the bottom of the mountain Antisana (and my little brother, Caleb, running around on the squishy plain.) We got only a couple full-view sightings of the immense mountain, but we were fortunate to have those, as the area is well-known for its rain and heavy clouds. Below is an abandoned hut and behind it what we speculated to be a re-planting of parramo grass in an effort to keep the hillside from further erosion.
The incredible distances we could see were mind boggling. It was hard to believe how far away a hill was until you started walking toward it and it never got much closer. The strange and beautiful patterns of plants and cloud shadows coupled with the undulating motion of the tall grasses in the winds continually gave me the impression of being at the bottom of the sea.
Below are some of the cool plants we were walking through and past and on: