Rabbit Ear Pass. That’s what I’ve named the stretch of road we’re on because we have two peaks of equal size to cross to get to Pasto. The first peak is a 13 mile climb up to 10,650 feet. But those 13 miles feel like the distance to the moon. I remember when being up above 10,000 feet seemed crazy high. In South America, it’s our new norm.
There’s a lot of positive self talk on days like today, convincing myself that if I just keep my wheels turning I’ll eventually get there. I try to avoid doing the math. At my speed, it will take me 3-4 hours to get to the top (and that’s not counting breaks). These 13 miles seem to be going by SO slowly. A couple of times I check to see if my odometer is working or if I have a flat tire.
The road cut into the mountain:
Switchbacks going up the mountain:
We thought we could make it to Pasto in one day. But by the time we got over one of the “ears” our legs were beat. We rolled down to the low point between them and called it a day. We haven’t been on flat ground in what feels like forever. Days with 5000+ feet of climbing are becoming more common, rather than the exception. We are in the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world, extending all the way from Venezuela to Argentina. I have a feeling this is just the beginning…
View of Laguna La Cocha:
We have a restless night. It starts to rain, just a little at first, like it will blow over. But then comes the booming thunder and lighting and we know we’re in for a storm. We could sleep if we trusted our tent to keep the water out. But both of us lie awake worrying if the repairs to the tent floor will hold, and then we notice a few drops of water coming down from above. The seams of the rainfly are leaking. This tent is on its last leg, between the ant attack in Mexico, breaking the pole on Thanksgiving, the damage to the floor from the desert thorns, and now the roof is leaking. Thank goodness my sister is bringing a new tent when she visits us in Ecuador. It just needs to make it one more month.