July 14, 2019
Things have been smooth sailing since all 13 of our students arrived at the Quito airport just three days ago. Everyone was bright eyed and full of smiles when we picked them up, eager for the days ahead.
We wasted no time diving into the adventure with an early wake up call on the morning after everyone landed. Hopping onto the bus, we drove a few hours to Cotopaxi National Park, where we threw on our chaps and ponchos and channeled our inner cowboys for the ride up to a breath-taking viewpoint. Sadler led the pack on horseback the entire way up, getting a good gallop in anytime she could. After our ride, we dropped our bags in the hotel, and immediately hit the town to see all the action. We went to the park across the street and brought back the good ole days of climbing on the jungle gym and seesaws. After dinner that night, we took a unique tour of city on a rhino themed ride though the town. To say that we had fun would be an understatement.
The next day, we climbed aboard an open-window party bus to take a more elaborate tour of the city while playing some fun music and naturally dancing along. On the ride, we stopped to take a cable car ride across a vast valley, stopping at a waterfall in the middle. After that, we continued to a local candy factory where Chris purchased a whole bag of natural sugar cane for the group to enjoy. Once everyone had a good sugar rush, we took a quick hike to one of the biggest waterfalls in Ecuador, falling roughly 350 feet. We all got the chance to experience a splash of the breathtaking falls. After getting misted, we went to the “Swing at the end of the world” for a great view and experience. However, the thrill of the “end of the world” was not enough for this adventurous group. To satisfy our need for a bigger adrenaline rush, we found a much larger swing that looked down into the town. The nerves were as high as the excitement within the group as people harnessed up and prepared for the plunge. Holden captured every moment of the drop from his GoPro as he swung through the air. Fin’s excitement could be heard from around the valley as she drifted into the sky.
Once everyone’s adrenaline had settled, we headed back to have some lunch in the local market, then immediately hit the town for some much needed shopping. Zack was extremely thoughtful and bought Ecuadorian crafted gifts for his siblings. Carolyn hunted down a very unique bag with a lot of pizazz. Hanna and David found out they have similar style when they bought the same pair of funky glasses without consulting one another first!
When we were all shopped out, the excitement only continued as we headed to a local chocolate shop to try for ourselves the Ecuadorian cheese hot chocolate. Reyn could not get enough of his cup, enjoying every sip of the sweetness. Later in the evening, we headed to a cool new dinner spot where we enjoyed some games of Jenga and pool as we waited for our food. Matt was a star on the pool table, even teaching Fin how to hold the pool cue. Robert took part in a legendary game on Jenga with us, where the blocks reached crazy heights. After dinner, the energy levels were ever so high, so we hit the soccer field across from our hotel to exert some built up energy. Sara B could not hold back her skills, being one of the first to dive into the game and play whole-heartedly. Camille was also eager to get into the game, even getting past some of the skilled locals. When soccer had finally come to a close, we concluded our time with a reflective Moonup. Isabella continues to surprise us with her thoughtful responses every single night.
We write to you with happy hearts as we reflect upon the last few days and look forward to all that is left to be experienced. Thank you all for each and every opportunity that you have given us, specifically the trip of a lifetime in Ecuador!
MGK and DK
July 12, 2019
Hello Ecuador + Galapagos Families!
We heard from our Leaders that the group arrived safely last night, and enjoyed a night of well deserved rest at their hotel. They are off for their first activity this morning, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventures. Stay tuned!