This day had some very nice highlights… but they didn’t start from the early morning!!
Starting uphill is never good, but it didn’t take long before it started to go down. Cycling along a very pretty canyon helped out making those initial kilometers more bearable. It was, actually, the follow up of previous day.
I must say I didn’t find almost any traffic at all!
The downturn of the day came when I arrived to the bottom of the river. No, it wasn’t that I was sad that I had climbed all the way only to go down in a few kilometers (but that was the case, also).
There are Chinese factories down there!! With Chinese signs!!
I stopped in San Luis (km 24) for some juice, and they told most of the workers are local (their working conditions are written at the bar, like at what time they start, finishing time, lunch allowance etc) but Chinese people rule the place and they show up with translators and stuff. They’re building up a huge hydroelectric plant… and something else. The place didn’t feel safe at all: so you build up a massive reservoir in volcanic area? It’s been 27 years since El Reventador last exploded, and locals were still tellinh me they can remember the earth shaking (and that was at km 42, far away from the town of El Reventador).
The environment is nice there… but I didn’t like it at all.
Things start to look better after km 38 or so (there’s a restaurant at km 35 if you need it, but I’d try to avoid it and wait a little bit; at km 42 you’ll find a very small local town where you can grab some food or a drink). It looks like the jungle again. Welcome back to the rainforest. Once you’re at the top of the second pass of the day (it’s not too complicated this one), the view resembles that of the postcards from Macchu Picchu. Really nice here. El Cerro Negro, Sumaco volcano and some great mountains in the area make it really nice. Totally unexpected!!
At El Chaco the traffic turns a little bit heavier. I didn’t like the town, even if in the outskirts towards Baeza you’ve got some natural pools (there’s one, not so nice, arriving to Baeza as well, almost in town). And when arriving to Baeza 2 special things happen:
-You can see Antisana!! The volcano!! Covered in snow! Great view.
-You’ve got a steep downhill… only to go up to Baeza again.
Why do most of the arrivals end up uphill?? Or is it just my feeling??