|Pichincha / Imbabura|
|Dispatch 7 - Apuela|
|The road to the west out of Cotacachi
starts with a long hill. The first and last town you pass through for
about 25km is Quiroga.
Left: Church on the main square in Quiroga.
Right: Young female bicyclist in the main square in Quiroga.
|Left: Harvesting corn.
Right: Stacks of dried corn stocks for future cattle consumption.
Left: Rose being grown in a green house near
Right: Lagoon Cuicochi and Mt Cotacachi (mostly obscured.) Also a favorite destination for local bicyclists.
|If you are in Cuicochi on the summer solstice you can watch the preparations and participate (walk along) in Cotacachi's initial Inty Rimi's rituals. Most local people are dressed to the nines, but you can come as you are. Among the elements of the pageant are displays of tropical fruit, dozens of chickens hung from a pole, oversize pointed sombreros and the local beauty queens.|
|The high county south of Mt Cotacachi.|
|To the west, the countryside get more dramatic and ruggedly scenic.|
|The school in San Miguel de Pecara. The students seem to be practicing and end-of-the-year program (right).|
|A stone road winds through the lush countryside of
the tributaries of Rio Apuela.
Ecuador use stone roads a lot for secondary roads. Ask to a motorist and the will say the road is great. Ask a cyclist and they will talk to you after they find the filling that was shaken loose. The secret is to find the smooth part along the edge -- which don't always exist.
|A few of the people we met along the way. I don't get pictures of most of my new acquaintances.|
|Small community church in Alto Pecara.|
|Left: Looking down into the valley of Apuela.
Right: Looking down on to the school in Apuela.
|Left: Main street of Apuela.
Right: Main square and market of Apuela.
|Left: Wall mural illustrating dental health and
Right: Small hotel and restaurant in the Rio Apuela valley.
|From the top of the hill, the road descends through paramo (alpine grasslands), to cloud forests (orchids, ferns and superior bio-diversity) and down to a sub-tropical environment. The frosting on the cake is you can stay at a riverside hot springs. There are a variety of pools of different temperatures.|
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