A trip to Ecuador is not complete without a visit of its highest volcano Chimborazo. On the top (at 6286m) you’re actually the closest you can get to the sun while still standing on planet earth. This is due to its location near to the equator.
I didn’t get that far up and pitched my tent “only” at 4850m next to the refugio which is still reachable by bike (or almost any other vehicle). From there you can only hike or climb to get higher up. The night before I’ve met a French family that was traveling with a big camper and we agreed to meet again here for the night. They had reached the mountain already many hours before me and happily welcomed me, when I approached the parking lot next to the refugio. After I was done with setting up my camp for the night they invited me for tea and dinner inside their warm camper. Vincent – the father of the family – is a cook back in France and was baking fresh bread that evening. We ate it together with some beans. The beans unfortunately didn’t cook that well at this high altitude, but since I was hungry and felt lucky to eat something else than rice and vegetables for the night I didn’t care. And the bread was just amazing – when you’re traveling through central and south america you can get really excited when you find really good bread.
The night was cold as expected, but luckily not very windy. An hour after I had setup my camp, my outer tent was already frozen. I put on my long underwear and one additional layer of warm clothes and creep into my sleeping bag. It became a pretty rough night – not because of the cold or the thin air, but unfortunately I was struggling to digest the beans (or maybe it was because of the altitude). But the next morning after a cup of coffee and an empanada at the refugio I was feeling fine and energized again and even went up for a little hike up to 5200m.
And then it was time to say goodbye to the mountain and enjoy the long downhill and some warmer temperatures below 4000m. Next big stop on my trip south is Cuenca.