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Moonlight Volcano

This post was sent to me by long time friend expert shopper, Bonnie Keough. As Bonnie says, the weather since January has been wetter than normal due to the effects of La Niña but that sure gave us some unuasual landscapes for this part of the world including snow-capped volcanoes and meandering streams turning into rushing torrents. Here´s Bonnie´s take after her latest stay.
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Moonlight Volcano – Bonnie Keough

I was very fortunate to have spent the last six weeks in Ecuador.  The weather was a bit wetter than usual and definitely cooler.  One of the results of the cold night temperatures was more ice crystals than usual covered the high volcanoes.  In fact, it was the first time in decades some of the volcanoes were covered.  This made the mountains even more spectacular when they glistened in the sunshine and made the chilly nights easier to endure. 

Cotacachi in winter 

Mount Cotacachi – March 2008                          Photo courtesy of Shawn Geer

 

 

     It also set the stage for a special moment for me. I

 

’ve made the trip between Quito and Cotacachi numerous times, by bus, car and van, at different times of the day and night.  During the daytime trips, I enjoy looking out the windows at the ever changing scenery: the lush, green mountainsides, the racing river in the valley, the cows, horses and people by the road.  Ecuador is a rural country, but there are always signs of life visible which allow me a glimpse into a lifestyle much different than mine.

  I enjoy the daytime trips, but it is the night time trips that truly amaze me.   From the time I leave Cotacachi until I arrive in the city of Quito two hours later, there is always a light somewhere in view.  This small, developing country is full of street lamps and porch lights, not just a few, but hundreds!  At 4 AM, it’s a comforting feeling to look out over a distant valley and see neat rows of streets outlined.  

   Street lights marching up mountain sides welcome home residents of  rural mountain villages, which are probably  a lot easier to find at night than in daylight.   Were it not for all these signs of life, the dark road would feel quite lonely and isolated. I never seem to be able to sleep during my early morning rides to the airport so I have lots of time to look around. 

   During my last trip, I saw a memorable sight.  The sky was clear, the stars were bright and the moon was shining in the blue-black sky.  As I looked across the valley, the moonlight reflected off the ice crystals on a huge volcano, lighting it so that it glowed and was silhouetted against the dark sky; it looked like a giant spotlight was shining down on it.  I was mesmerized.   It was a simple thrill, like seeing a rainbow, but I felt privileged to see it.

   Ecuador is like that, full of simple surprises and friendly people who will leave a light on for you.  And the week before I left, the weather changed back to the usual warm, sunny norm, but even the coolest night in Ecuador was warmer than a “warm” February night in Massachusetts!