76 Photos - Mar 2, 2013
Photo: Rough road, paved with river rocks, follows an old Inca trailPhoto: Dairy operation on private land outside border of national parkPhoto: Raw milk in cans is pumped into tank truck for delivery to dairy plant in townPhoto: Horse loaded with empty milk cans.  Farmers milk the cows by hand in the field where they are.Photo: Our first stop: Llaviucu lake, 10,367 feet elevationPhoto: Entrance to the national park is free, but you must registerPhoto: These llamas congregate in the parking lotPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: The herd is tagged (ear tags) and managed by park rangersPhoto: Our guide, Adrian, age 22, explains the park and our routePhoto: Moss covers most of the trees.  It holds rain water and releases it slowly to the soil.Photo: This cabin is used by rangers and for school children's visitsPhoto: Ruins in the distance were for 50 years a beer brewery, located there because of the purity of the waterPhoto: Epiphytes grow abundantly on trees in this rainforest climatePhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: The trail around the lake is well maintainedPhoto: View of lake from far endPhoto: Photo: "Pumpkin flower"Photo: Andean fuchsiaPhoto: Sheila with Adrian, our guidePhoto: Me in my new sweater, Sheila in borrowed jacket and scarfPhoto: Photo: Part of the trail is decked and roofedPhoto: "Little shoe" plantsPhoto: Photo: The spill of this lake flows into the Tomebamba River that cuts through Cuenca; weir controls levelPhoto: EpiphytesPhoto: View of the lake as we finished our circuit; light rain was fallingPhoto: Lama fur on barbed wirePhoto: The parking lot herd.  Adrian's theory was they were here because it was the warmest spot.Photo: Tres Cruces, the highest point on the highway from Cuenca to Guayaquil that bisects the parkPhoto: View from the lookoutPhoto: Panorama from the Tres Cruces viewpointPhoto: Sheila at the Tres Cruces viewpointPhoto: Viewpoint above Lake Toreadoras where we began our hikePhoto: This was formely the mule trail between Cuenca and GuayaquilPhoto: Hiker's flower, growing at 9,000 feet elevation or abovePhoto: Plants characteristic of the páramo, the high altitude moors of the AndesPhoto: Photo: The trail led from lake to lakePhoto: Photo: Polylepis treePhoto: Jagged contour sometimes looks like a facePhoto: LandscapePhoto: Tiny flowerPhoto: "Balloon flower" - found only in Cajas parkPhoto: LandscapePhoto: LandscapePhoto: PanoramaPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Polylepis tree, resembles Manzanita but grows only at high altitudes and can live to 2,000 yearsPhoto: Polylepis sheds its bark prolificallyPhoto: Foreground: Polylepis treesPhoto: Closeup: bark of polylepisPhoto: Polylepis barkPhoto: Páramo sceneryPhoto: Polylepis leaning over waterPhoto: Llama herdPhoto: Photo: Photo: We go for lunch to a restaurant that has a trout farmPhoto: Sheila at the restaurant waiting for us to return from the hikePhoto: Steamed troutPhoto: Fried troutPhoto: Fried trout coming at youPhoto: Black swan in the restaurant pond