Volcán Pululahua, Ecuador – Fog-thick soup or soup-thick fog?

Going back from the beach to Quito we pass the dormant volcano Pululahua, just few miles west of Mitad del Mundo. Its crater is 600 m / 200 ft deep and measures around 5 km / 3 mi in diameter. Its special feature is that we can drive down a very winding gravel trail (no special requirements to the vehicle) to the crater bottom where agriculture is carried on since ages. Camping is offered, but we stop at the access road at N 00°02’42.7’’ W 78°28’40.7’’ since an archway is visible from here, which is definitely not high enough for us. At 12 o’clock on the dot a very special spectacle meets our eyes. Thick clouds climb over the ridge of the precipice and pounce enthusiastically into the depth. In-between half an hour the entire hollow is filled with soup-thick fog.

We see to get out of here and escape to Quito. The world’s highest capital – before Bolivia’s Sucre – is situated at an elevation of 2,800 m / 9250 ft and spread rampantly during the past decades to comparatively modest 2.5 million inhabitants. Unfortunately the weather isn’t better in Quito. The sunshine a minute ago changes into a violent thunderstorm with vertical pink flashes and a hail shower that makes us flinch with every striking. Within minutes cars can’t drive off any more in the steep side roads. To make matters worse, Quito is situated in a high valley. The surrounding slopes collect the precipitation and reliably conduct it downwards, where the water masses transform the roads into torrential rivers. Despite half a meter of water depth and fountains bubbling from drains, runarounds and mopeds struggle bravely through the stream.

Fortunately the nightmare is quickly forgotten on the east side of Quito and we find in the valley of Conocoto other relatives of Walt and Lidia who own a big plot with houses for the whole family and a factory. They manufacture special textiles like belt straps for backpacks and other pieces of luggage or cleaning sponges and rags.

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