Day 505 - Laguna de Mojanda, Ecuador - 10125 km

From indigenous town Otavalo, I cycled up to Laguna de Mojanda, a crater lake at 3700 meters. I left my panniers with the most heavy luggage (Laptop, chargers, extra clothing etc.) in the hostel to make the steep ride on the Ecuadorian cobblestones somehow enjoyable.

On the road I met Tomas, a cyclist from Czech Republic. He had cycled from Alaska on a regular touring bike. He was walking up, pushing the bike forward. I told him to leave some air out his tires, but they were so warn out (all the way from Alaska) that he was afraid that they would not survive the bumpy cobblestones. He didn’t mind walking. I was happy with my 3 inch tires and big wheels and continued the ride, which wasn’t much faster than walking. Half way I got stuck in a thunderstorm. I didn’t bring my rain jacket. At a driveway I found a little roof where I could take shelter, it barely covered me. The rain came down and turned the driveway in a small river. I stood there for an hour until it cleared up. I waited for Tomas, but didn’t see him anymore.

On the top at the lake I met a woman with her daughter, she was here to harvest berries, which only grow at high altitude. I bought some berries and continued to the second, smaller, lake where I would camp. I asked her that if she saw Tomas, to tell him I was at the next lake.

The night fell early. Being only a few kilometres from the equator it’s night from 6 to 6. I wanted to make some spaghetti, but I forgot the spaghetti, so ended up with an onion soup. I would have to wait for the next day for the much needed calories. It got cold quickly and tucked myself in the sleeping bag to warm up. I watched something on my Iphone. After that it was still 8 pm. Too early to sleep. I got out again, the lake was entirely covered in mist. There was a creepy silence. Every sound I made sounded muffled. I couldn’t see the peaks around me. The land was desolate and stretched out, the shallow lake in front of me as a dark mirror. I walked around to explore the area, my head light shining through the mist. No signs of life, except a disturbed bird that flew away over the lake, just the eerie silence. I could feel my heart beat in my throat. I wonder where Tomas ended up. He might have found shelter at a farm during the thrunderstorm and maybe spend the night there.

In the morning I got up early, made some coffee and ate bread with jam and nuts. I waited for the sun to warm me up and dry the tent. It was still quiet but now with fresh sunlit views over the laguna and surrounding peaks with grey-green páramo grass. There ware no trees. Higher up on the dirt road I saw someone waving. It was Tomas. I walked up. He appeared to have spend at the first lake. He couldn’t make it to where I was because of the rain so set up camp earlier. The entire climb, 18 km, 1300m elevation, he had walked, pushing his bike. He didn’t seem to complain about it.