November 30th, Mindo forest

Unlike yesterday we had an early start today. Richard was waiting for us at 7:15 for a daytrip to Mindo rain forest. Pulahulua crater was our first stop a short distance North of the Equator. It’s a 2 minute walk from the parking lot to the platform that offers a great view over the caldera. As we walked back to the car two busses with schoolchildren arrived and their teacher informed us they would be visiting the Orchid reserve we also were going to. We tried to get there as fast as possible and then hiked up a path to a large waterfall. Along this path we saw a bird’s nest hidden between the rocks and vegitation. Meanwhile Richard pointed out different plants of the forest. When we were almost back at the car, the schoolchildren just arrived ending the peace and quiet in the reserve.

Next stop was a private domain with viewing balcony were we saw a lot of hummingbirds eating from the hanging feeders. Suddenly it looked like we could have some rain and at the same time there we a lot less hummingbirds too so we descended along the winding dirt road to a lower altitude where there was another garden and even more hummingbirds. We could get very close to the feeders without scaring away the birds.
By now it was time to get lunch so Richard took us to a local restaurant and translated what was on the menu. We choose the “cow foot soup” only to realise that first of all, it’s tasty ans second, there’s a real cow foot in it.
After lunch there was one more place to see yet more hummingbirds, once again, because of the different altitude, we saw different species.
By now the clouds came in and it started to rain as if nature was telling us to go back to Quito. At least we had been able to breath some clean air in the forest because once back in the city there a thick smog from the exhausts.
After a short walk to get dinner we returned to our room to pack our stuff for tomorrow’s flight to Galapagos