Chimborazo Anniversary Adventure
July marked our 3rd wedding anniversary so we decided to do something special— bike down Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest mountain. Due to the equatorial bulge, the peak of this extinct volcano is the farthest point in the world from the Earth’s center.
Before Mark and I were dating, one of the first things we did together was hike Idaho’s tallest mountain, Mt. Borah. What better way to celebrate our marriage than have another crazy mountain adventure?
Look how Mark was too scared to put his arm around me then!
The road started going up as soon as we left Riobamba. Our fearless tour guide, Diego from ProBici, drove with our rented mountain bikes strapped to the top of his four-wheel drive vehicle. It was a clear and beautiful morning and around ever corner was a new view of the snow-capped volcano.
We drove as high up the mountain as we could and parked at 15,744 feet elevation. From there we hiked up to about 16,500 feet to get a closer view of the peak. Only experienced climbers acclimated to the elevation go beyond this point to reach the top.
We hiked back down to the parking lot and got ready for our mountain bike adventure. From here we biked down a combination of paved and dirt roads and rough bike trails.
Our trip took us past a couple of Incan and Spanish archeological sites, wild vicuñas (similar to Alpacas, see photo above), and through miles of farmland dotted with sheep, cattle, and plenty of dogs to chase us. Every time we looked back, Chimborazo yelled, “Take my picture!”
We hiked up to an ancient Polylepis or “paper tree” forest named because of the way that the bark flakes off like paper. These trees only grow at high elevations and are now endangered because many forests have been wiped out for firewood.
These trees grow very slowly and many trees in this forest are actually a thousand years old or more.
We filmed a good amount of our trip with our GoPro and put together a little video. It was an epic anniversary for sure!
WARNING: this video contains hard rock music, explosions, and lots of extreme mountain biking. WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!