Archive for January, 2011

A couple days in Baños

Rodrigo and I spent the past couple days in Baños, a town of roughly 21,000 inhabitants. Baños is known for its melcocha (taffy), surrounding cloud forest, and abundant tourists cruising the streets in rented quads. It is also known for its frequent volcanic activity, being situated right beneath the often belching Tungarahua.

A number of waterfalls are just down the road, so we hiked to a few of them. First we hit Rio Verde, where the path is admittedly over-cleared, but the waterfall is the most majestic in the area.

Waterfall at Rio Verde.

Waterfall at Rio Verde.

Looking down at the Rio Verde waterfall.

Looking down at the Rio Verde waterfall.


As Ecuador is the land of orchids, we passed many wild orchids on the way. In fact, Ecuador has 4,000 different native species of orchids out of 30,000 worldwide. This means that Ecuador, a country roughly the size of Wyoming, is home to 13% of the worlds native orchid species.
Wild orchid at Rio Verde.

Wild orchid at Rio Verde.


The next day, we hiked to Manto de la Novia, or The Bride’s Veil, with Rodrigo’s family. Fewer tourists frequent this hike (because they can take cable cars instead), so it’s a quick way to get outside without running into as many people.
Manto de la Novia from afar.

Manto de la Novia from afar.


It’s a steep hike down, followed by a walking bridge dangling over a rushing river. Rodrigo was so scared, he had to find someone’s hand to hold.
Rodrigo and Lucas run over the bridge.

Rodrigo and Lucas run over the bridge.


Interestingly, Manto de la Novia used to be a single waterfall, but it split last year due to a flood of melting glacier water heated by Tungarahua. It’s a part of the ever-shifting landscape of Ecuador, where earthquakes, volcanoes and floods move rivers, roads, and towns.
Rodrigo's family under the waterfall.

Rodrigo's family under the waterfall.


Despite the fact that it is overpopulated with tourists, Baños is a great town to visit. The weather is always warm, the landscape is lush with plants and the sugar cane taffy is top notch. I’m also glad that I was able to be here in good company (and good entertainment).
Lucas provides entertainment.

Lucas provides entertainment.

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Arrived in Ecuador!

I have landed in Ecuador!  As we flew over the Gulf of Mexico, a storm was brewing towards Cuba.  At times, I couldn’t count to five without bolts of electricity lighting up the sky. Here is a video of the lightning beneath us.

Tonight I will attend the premier of El Tren de los Sueños and then spend the rest of the week here before heading to Urbina to spend a week with the llamas and the mountains. It’s good to be back.

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Hello, Quito.

Tomorrow morning I will depart New York City en route to Quito. It’s been a whirlwind couple weeks trying to get everything ready, but my film bag is packed, my cameras are cleaned and I just picked up the last round of test slides (no more light leaks!).

Here is a picture that I return to a lot as I try to imagine what life will be like in Quito. I took this on our last day there in September, from the top of Basílica del Voto Nacional. We had to climb all the way up on stairs and then ladders, but the unobstructed view in all directions was worth it.

I’ll be updating this blog more frequently now, as I pick up where we left off on our projects. See you in Ecuador!

El Panecillo from the top of Basílica del Voto Nacional.

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Returning to Ecuador

In less than two weeks, I will be returning to Ecuador for six months to continue work on our projects. I’ll be arriving just in time to catch the premier of El Tren de los Sueños in Quito on the 26th. From there I will head directly to Huigra to continue on the search for The Major.

Along our trip in September, we were very lucky to meet a lot of kind and interesting people. I count myself as extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to photograph many of them. I’m looking forward to meeting many more people in the months to come.

Here are a few scans I’ve been working on recently and reviewing as I prepare to return to Ecuador.







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Sketches of Ecuador

Katie Patch kept a sketchbook as our team advanced up the old G&Q Railway line last September. Katie trained in art at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). She studied photography in Paris, and spent a European Honors semester studying art and art history in Rome. Here are a few of her delightful sketches from Ecuador.


You can see more of Katie’s artwork at her webpage: http://www.katiepatch.com/

Or on her flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katiepatch/

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