The Ecuador Chronicles - 2009-12
A Ride up Mount Pichincha;
A Cable Car with Bicycle Racks;
More than One Way Down
Mount Pichincha stands high above Quito to the west; it provides a beautiful backdrop to everything in Quito. The final battle of independence for the part of South America that became Ecuador was fought on the slopes of Mount Pichincha on May 24, 1822; Patroit forces defeated the Spanish colonial army.
Mount Pichincha over Colonial Quito - View from our Apartment
About five years ago the Mount Pichincha Teleferico opened with great fanfare and high expectations. While not a total flop, it has not lived up to those high expectations. Quiteños and visitors ride the Teleferico, but not in the numbers expected. I decided to check it out myself.
Some of the Cable Cars have Bicycle Racks -
Take the Teleferico Up, Ride Your Mountain Bike Down
Leaving the Station
Arriving at the Top
View from the Top; Quito Below - Cotopaxi in the Distance
The views on the way up and from the top are incredible. My camera and photographic skills (or lack there of) do not do any of these views justice. When you arrive there are a few shops and a cafe - and empty space for a lot more. In the beginning there was a Disco; but it soon became apparent that highly intoxicated people riding cable cars down at midnight was not a good idea.
There are actually two peaks - Rucu which is Quechua for old person and Guagua (wa-wa) meaning child. It is the impetuous child that is occasionally active; fortunately any lava flows off to the west away from Quito - Quito did receive a coating volcanic ash in 1999.
The Teleferico takes you to Cruz Loma, an elevation of 13,500 feet (Quito is at 9,200 feet). From there you can hike on up Rucu Pichincha to an elevation of 15,400 feet; but this is for fit hikers - and you need to become accustomed to the Quito altitude for at least a few days.
You can see that Quiteños would do this a first time, and then only occasionally unless they were really into hiking or mountain biking. But I give it a thumbs up for travelers; I enjoyed my afternoon - but do go on a clear day for the best views.
Non-traditional Ways Back Down
There is more than one way down the mountain.
Michael Jackson and Family Would have Loved this!
I Even Chose the Scenic Way Down; the Breeze was Delightful
Alright Boys, Ready to Roll - It's Downhill from Here!
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