Finding Inspiration in the North Cascades

Thunder-Know

It’s beautiful driving down State Route 20 at 8 o’clock in the evening in my old, beat-up 1989 Toyota Corolla that I never, ever clean. My radio is dead and so I sing “Baby, I miss you” through the four arched scratches on my windshield towards mountains of trees.

I’m getting the hell out. Away from all the stress and shaking off the day. Onward to North Cascades National Park.

It’s getting dark by the time my best friend Alia and I turn our wheels into Goodell Creek Campground. We pick a spot in the trees with the sound of the Skagit River pinging like windchimes in a winter storm. Perfect. We make a fire, s’mores and stare up at the stars in dumb awe as we rehash all the stupid shit we used to traveling around Latin America. Read More

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The Black Sheep Inn: A Baaad Ass Eco Lodge

valley-hike-chugchilan-ecuador
After hiking all day from Quilotoa, I found myself out of breath and knee deep in the middle of Ecuadorian Andes.  But just around the bend lies one of the top eco lodges in Ecuador, the Black Sheep Inn.

my-room

Given that my daily budget is around $20, I hummed and hahhed over whether I should shell out the $35 per night. Included in the price were 3 delicious vegetarian meals. Would it be worth it? I doubted myself.

Then I found out that there was unlimited access to their yoga studio.

Decision made.

yoga-studio-black-sheep-inn

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Hiking the Quilotoa Loop, Ecuador

Quilotoa Crater, Ecuador

Arriving at the emerald green Quilotoa lagoon, a smile crawls across my face. Being unemployed really isn’t that bad.

Getting to Quilotoa is really half the fun.

quilotoa-loop-map
Most of the bus schedules require you to wake up early and start from Latacunga. We run to make the 8am bus to Zumbahua, paying the $2 along with the rest of the poncho-clad and fedora-with-a-peacock-feather wearing locals.

As I struggled to stay awake, an agrarian lifestyle I can’t even fathom passes me by. The foothills of the central Andes are drop dead gorgeous and it seems like I’ve been transported back in time. Terraced farm land rises up the mountains in varying shades of green, black and yellow. Surrounding them are tiny, one room, concrete houses with thatched roofs. Local women herd lots of woolie sheep, pigs and of course, llamas.

llama-quilotoa

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