It is absolutely impossible to overstate how big and steep the Andes are — and how amazing it is that farmers are able to grow countless kinds of crops on them. Heck, it’s amazing that they are able to walk on some of these mountains. They are that steep.
After leaving Quito yesterday, Austin Larrowe and Corrina Clements arrived in Guaranda, a small town nestled in the shadow of Chimborazo, the highest mountain in the country. Because of its location close to the equator, it also boasts a peak that is farther from the Earth’s core than anywhere else on Earth.
Today the pair interviewed more farmers about their work with naranjilla plants, which they are hoping will be one of the many tools used to help solve the very serious problem of deforestation in the country. They are examining how farmers use a new grafted variety of the plant, which is less susceptible to pests and wilt. If farmers adopt the new grafted variety, they are less likely to have problems with the wilt and pests and less likely to cut down the forests.
After the interview was over, Larrowe even helped with the harvest.
Though the two are working extremely hard, it’s also hard not to be completely blown away by the scenery at every turn. At one point this morning, they were making their way down a curvy, steep mountain road as the valley below them filled with a blanket of clouds.
“Wow,” Clements said. “I’ve never driven down into a cloud before.”