8:15 pm and Kellie, our final member, has arrived! Kellie's mom is probably waiting for this dispatch ;) Love ya moms!
She looks no worse for the wear after a long day of transit to the expansive city of Quito. Now, a welcome bit of "happy hour" to celebrate the beginning of our our expedition! Eric (co-lead) and brother Jeff made the initial trip to the Supermaxi and have set us up with wine, baguettes, and cheese to initiate the union of the crew. I've been advised there is some chorizo as well because what is cheese and bread without some nitrate rich product.
Jeff, Eric, and Katie joined the existing group (Kerr, Kelly "with a y", Sarah, and Brad) at about 11:30 this morning after an epic trip from reaches as far north as central New Hampshire. I think the logistics were something along the lines of a car from NH to Boston, a bus from Boston to NYC, an insane cab ride to JFK complete with a crazy, zodiac sign reading cabbie, a flight to Guayaquil and then a short puddle jumper to Quito. The threesome started at 3pm...yesterday and were in much need of a nap so spent much of the afternoon today resting, unpacking, and drinking water at our home for the next 10 days, Hostal Alcala.
Kelly, Brad, and Sarah all reached Quito last night after respective trips from State College, Pennsylvania, Portland, Maine, and "the other Portland", Oregon. I think of that crew Sarah's logistics top them. A train from Portland to Seattle, a flight to Miami complete with an 8 hour layover (what a girl will do to save a buck) and then a flight into Quito. The three of us all arrived about the same time last night near 8pm and were met by our quintessential Ecuadorian climber/guide Nacho...the name, I'm not sure but I'm hungry just thinking about it.
That leaves us with guide in training Kerr, originally from England but now hailing and schooling in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Kerr arrived in country on the 2nd after a smooth flight in country and has had the benefit of living at over 9000 ft (~3000 m for you canadians et al).
The latter four members had the opportunity of taking the Telefurico (http://www.in-quito.com/teleferico-quito-ecuador/teleferico.htm) just outside of town toward the ridge that begins with the relatively active volcano Rucu Pichincha (last active in 1999 and reportedly buried the city at that time in 20 cm of ash). We maxed out at about 14,300 feet today (4300m) with some easy walking and majestic views of the city and the ridge. There happens to be a small amusement park at the bottom of the Telefurico and we managed to embrace the "pista de kart" (path of the kart) at Mundo Kart (Kart World). Yes, we rode the go-karts. I hear that is one of the top attractions in Ecuador actually.
The plan for tomorrow: tour of the old city.
The new mantra: have fun, look good, go slow and be safe.
Good night from Quito.