Hello, we are Chloe and Meera and we were Líders del Día (Leader of the day, LDD) yesterday on Fun Day. On our Fun Day we went to Mt. Chimborazo. Since Ecuador’s on the equator, the mountain is Earth’s closest point to the sun. We wore many layers and a lot of sun protection.

After a 6 AM wake up, we had an early breakfast at La Tortilla. Then, we started our drive up the mountain. We had many scenic lookouts over valleys and farms. We stopped a few times to acclimate to the elevation change. On the way up, we saw our first vicuñas, an animal similar to llamas. The wind chill on the mountain left many of us chilled through our layers.

We met local guides to continue up the mountain. One guide taught us Quechua, a local indigenous language. They showed us medicinal plants and discussed the reserve’s history. We learned about the conservation efforts regarding the vicuña population. After almost going extinct, the population has begun to recover. We took a short hike up to a monument with great views. This was a prime photo opp! We had a chance to go to the gift shop where we purchased souvenirs and drinks. We returned to the bus and headed to a second trailhead. Those of us who chose to walk the second trail saw vicuña beds and native plants.

Upon returning, we had a nice, chill free time to recharge. Those who reacted poorly to the altitude had a chance to rest. We had dinner at La Tortilla and a nightly meeting discussing the effects of tourism. We discussed sustainable tourism and evaluated our impact as tourists; we ultimately decided that tourism often leaves locations worse off than it started, but there are many things we can do to limit our footprint. We had a really great fun day and can’t wait for the rest of the trip!