We spend one night at the stonewalled farm of Angel Parra, a 72-year-
old man who has graciously erected a
tarp over a straw floor so we can set
up our tents there. We use his utility
shed as a kitchen, and listen to him tell
stories as we trade moonshine for rum
shots. Not your average tourist spot.
On the trails, we pass people farming on steep patches of fertile mountainsides, and are greeted with a wave
and smile. In an area inaccessible to
cars and unvisited by tourists, we pass
houses with straw roofs supported by
large bricks of mud, manure and grass.
We climb to reach 14,000 feet
and stop to take in the breathtaking
360-degree views, including a valley
that goes to the sea, the clouds just
starting to blow in below us.
We follow a small canal that carries
water from the Chimborazo volcano
at 20,000 feet to the towns below.
My companion, Ali, gives out stickers
to the children.
We end the day in the hot springs at
Salado for a warm soak and a steak dinner under the stars thanks to Rodrigo.
The morning ride takes us through
more dairy farms. The clouds descend
over Chimborazo volcano, teasing us
with a slight view of its peak as we
take long canters down the Rio Colorado, a red dirt trail.
Ride host Gabriel
crosses a river on
the trek into the
Above: We set up
camp in the high
Andes on a farm,
where the owner
offered us shelter.