In and Out

It’s been only one week since I returned from Ecuador, and I’m already anxious to hit the road again. Traveling is mentally pretty challenging for me – I love to go on adventures and explore new places, but returning home from such trips always requires a bit of an adjustment. There’s a period of time where I feel pretty bummed and lost, as if I’m coming down off of a high and going through withdrawal, and I just don’t know what to do with myself. Anyway, that’s enough complaining from me! I’m really lucky to have the freedom and opportunity to explore the way I do, and one day I’ll find a way to make all the puzzle pieces of my life fit together in a more orderly fashion. It just takes time to sort it all out.

So, let’s talk about how friggen awesome Ecuador was! I got to chill with some super amazing college students and outdoor educators, climbed my first 19000 foot peak (and first 15000 and 18000 footers, for that matter), ate guanabana and passion fruit, almost got eaten by a trolley door, played games and sports with Ecuadorian schoolchildren, and was re-alerted to the fact that I really don’t speak Spanish. My body got pretty beat up in the process, as can be proven by my multicolored toes, and climbing Cayambe might have been one of the hardest physical things I’ve ever done in my life (I haven’t signed up for childbirth yet), but the trip was incredible and I feel way fortunate to have been able to participate in it, particularly with this awesome group. Coming home was bittersweet, as the ending to most adventures should be.

I’m way behind on processing images (what else is new), but that’s mostly because I have a lot more traveling coming up that I need to prepare for. Tomorrow I head up to North Conway for the 20th Mount Washington Valley Ice Festival hosted by International Mountain Equipment this weekend, then I come back and pack for Nepal, where I’ll be spending about 10 days on a scouting trip for NatureScapes.Net. After that is the NANPA Summit in Jacksonville, Florida and then I get to come back home to New Hampshire and chill out for most of March before heading out again. It’s a crazy life, but I’m sure glad that it’s mine!

Ecuador, mountain, volcano, mountaineering, Andes, glacier, Johns Hopkins University, Cotopaxi

Bringing Home the Awesome

A rope team from Johns Hopkins University, led by Ecuadorian guide Robinson, approach the summit of Cotopaxi just before sunrise. Cotopaxi is one of Ecuador's most popular mountains and it attracts mountaineering expeditions from all over the world. It's high elevation but fairly non-technical slopes make it an ideal climb for beginning and experienced climbers alike hoping to summit a high altitude peak. The summit rises to 5,897 meters or 19,347 feet in height and has more clear summit days than any of Ecuador's other glacier covered volcanic mountains. Cotopaxi is part of the Andean Mountain Range.

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