Landing in Quito, the city looked mostly as I’d expected: a mixture of grime, bright colors, enticing street food, and the general feel of dust & humanity. But what I didn’t expect was how amazed I’d be at the mountains. I’ve been around mountains before, but always in the context of nature & preserved parks. Those mountains seem deliberately placed - on display for appreciation. This was my first time in a city that melds right into mountains. And more importantly, this place blends mountains, city, country, and clouds. I can only begin to imagine the wonder and awe of ancient peoples, as they discovered land that touched the skies!
We took an afternoon from the trip down to Banos to ride horses along the side of the Tungurahua Volcano. The experience of riding a horse up the side of this mountain was lovely. There is a difference sense of quiet … the rhythmic thumping of the horse’s hooves, the droop of leaves heavy with the rain, and the soft crackling of twigs below my field of vision.
Near the top, I stood on aromatic ground - the air thin with new sediment from the depth of the earth, cool with the mist of a translucent cloud. We took in the fresh greenery, the bright lava rocks, the fresh mineral water, and the sensation of standing inside a cloud. Looking across the valley to other clouds perched in nests of the valleys and floating along the sides of neighboring mountains eye level, it was truly the meeting of heaven & earth.