With Christmas on my mind I decided to spend the weekend in the northern hemisphere to be a little bit closer to the home. Camping in Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve was a beautiful and relaxing natural get-away from the traffic and pollution of Quito.

Pululahua is just past the equator line right outside of Quito. The volcano erupted around 2.500 years ago and is now inactive. Inhabitants were not dissuaded by the prospect of living and working inside of a volcanic crater, making Pululahua not only an inhabited volcanic caldron, but also an area for cultivation. The entire crater is used for faming, and despite it’s remoteness, it is still called a beautiful home for a few locals.

When we arrived in the late afternoon, we hiked down to the crater through a dense cover of fog. After about 2 in the afternoon the clouds roll in over the volcano, and swallow everything up. We reached the bottom and a hostel provided us with a tent and sleeping bags, which we set up near a communal fire. We met a few other American teachers and passed the evening around the fire with them, singing ballads with a guitar and enjoying the company. When the clouds parted we even saw some stars for the first time in a long time!

Quito has a great climate, but Pululahua is COLD. Bundled up in my alpaca sweater and a few sleeping bags, I still froze at night—again, bringing me one step closer to Michigan!

We did not dwell in the crater, but woke up early to hike our way out. Exhausted and hungry, the trip up took a lot longer up than it did to come down. But, without cloud cover we had great views of the lush volcano.

The experience was just another to add to the books, because who else can say that they camped in the crater of a volcano?


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