Today we were going to climb one of the local mountains that surrounds Quito and which are clearly visible from almost any point in the city. Rucu the mountain that we would climb stands at 4698m or 15,413 ft. Rucu is the older and slightly lower summit to the Northwest of Guagua, the other summit in the range.
Since the Teleferico (cable car) was opened it has made this walk far more accessible. They say that this range is good training for Cotopaxi and other high mountains. However, bearing in mind that this mountain stands at 4698 you’ll probably need to acclimatise to this mountain first!
We arrived at the Teleferico to buy our tickets. We felt like we were cheating a little bit because the Teleferico takes you from the ground at 2600m to about 3800m. The journey probably takes 20 minutes or so and the top we were greeted by bright and beautiful sunny day.
I forgot to mention that we had also met a young English girl called Saskia at our homestay, so we invited her along too. The moment we left the house. In the taxi, to the Teleferico, in the Teleferico she would not stop chatting. Fortunately, I had my trusty shield for such occasions, my wife, louise! Louise bore (heh!) the brunt of this verbal onslaught whilst I watched and listened in horror.
Up we went through the first of a series of steep climbs, accompanied by the unremitting chatter of our verbal English gatling gun. Ratta tat tat she went, “back in England”….Ratta tat tat. I urged her to conserve her energy as the climb was steep and high but no, Ratta tat tat….”I went to university in……” Aghhhhhhh!!!
Fortunately the Inca God Pachamama interceded and brought proceedings to a halt. It reminded me a little bit of H G Well’s book the War of the World’s. This the book that end’s with nature stopping the alien invasion in its tracks. Our weapon was the altitude! Sudden, Saskia ground to a halt like a depleted energiser bunny. “I can’t go on, i think I ought to take a rest.”. Thank God for that i thought. Right, Louise let’s move on before she changes her mind. So off we went.
An hour on we could hear a distant noise that sound a little bit like braaap, braaap braaaaaap. We thought what could it be? Oh my God, it can’t be! No, fortunately it wasn’t Saskia back from the dead. No, about two minutes later we saw about half a dozen dirt bikes coming down the trail towards us. It looked like great fun. They gave us a wave as they whizzed by and with a final braaap they were off.
The journey across the mountain was pretty up and down but was more than made up for by the beautiful views that were spread all around us. There were also lots of varieties of alpine flowers to look at.
There were also a number of buzzards that drifted over head. One juvenile bird even stopped to say hello. He buzzed past us around two metres and then landed next to us. It was quite a sight and very unexpected.
After sitting and watching this inquisitive buzzard for ten minutes we headed off up the pass.
We didnt quite make it to the end as we were getting very hungry, and being a little disorganised we had no food left. However, with the views and wildlife that we had seen we headed home pretty satisfied.