Corinna Clements and Austin Larrowe have been working monster 12- and 14-hour days over the last week in Ecuador, where they are conducting research on the relationship local farmers have with the sweet naranjilla fruit (The two have been in Ecuador more than a week; I’ve only been here a few days).
So they had a day off coming to them.
But it’s not like they don’t pack in a full day on their days off, too.
Early in the morning it was off to Cotapaxi National Park, home to the world’s tallest active volcano at 19,347 feet. The two hired a tour guide who took them to the foot of the volcano where other tourists were braving the windy and snowy conditions to make their way up the side of the volcano that was a soft, sandy black landscape punctuated by red lava rocks.
This was a perfect example of Ecuador’s geographic diversity – not 24 hours earlier the pair were interviewing farmers working in the rain forest. Now they were hiking through snow.
After about an hour of hiking through the thin air, they made it to 15,953 feet. Too bad the weather didn’t cooperate and the snow moving sideways through the air made it hard to see more than a few hundred feet away.
Then it was back to Quito to take in the sites of the historic district, where the steeples from churches that were built more than 400 years ago punctuate the sky.
Tomorrow, it’s off to Guaranda, a city about four hours from Quito where Clements and Larrowe are conducing research for the next few days.