Our first fun day was all but predictable. Waking up at 7 am was hard (of course), yet, we made it to Nativa and ate empanadas and scrambled eggs as breakfast. We gathered our stuff and we made it to the bus, which was headed to one of the most amazing sites we have seen in Ecuador; the inactive volcano named Chimborazo. Also known as Taita Chimborazo or “Father of White Ice” in Kichwa, it lives true to its name with an altitude of 6,268 meters (20,564 feet), and with its magnificent snow covered peaks. Localized in the provinces of Tunguaragua, Chimborazo, and Bolivar; it covers over 58,560 Hectares (14470 acres); so big that it can clearly be seen through our windows in the morning.

The bus ride was quite interesting, as we saw many vicuñas – little llama-like creatures that are arguably the cutest animals we have ever seen. When we spotted a Carascaras Curingue, a unique falcon specie native to the land, our guides taught us a traditional song about the bird. After about an hour, we finally arrived at one of the bases of Chimborazo, where we made a quick visit to the bathroom. Some Glimpsers did start to feel dizzy from the high altitude and preferred not to hike. They stayed with Emily (our medic) and Don Juanito (our bus driver) on the bus, where they rested, had a snack, and eventually felt better. Nevertheless, we all got to see Chimborazo up close and really enjoyed the breathtaking views of this landscape. The rest of us went on an hour-long hike down to the bottom camp, which gave us the opportunity to truly grasp the greatness of this region.

Once we met up with the rest of our group on the bus, we headed to a cozy restaurant at the edge of the road, where we ate quinoa soup, chicken with rice and a pasta salad. We drank fresh guava juice and had pound cake for dessert.

We got back not long after our meal and we had some free time. Some of us went to explore more of the town, while others stayed at the hotel to rest or to finish writing their letters of appreciation to our dear sponsors who have made this whole experience possible. After that, we ate supper at “Nativa”, which consisted of lomo saltado with rice and quinoa, plus fresh strawberry juice and cake. Later on, we had our nightly meeting, where we discussed the challenges and victories of our day, and then passed the torch to tomorrow’s Leaders of the Day.