lunes, 29 de julio de 2013

Rumicucho to San José de Minas: The route of the canyons near Quito

Not so long ago, on Father’s Day, we decided to give ourselves a treat, to take a nice bike ride on a dirt road and asphalt between the northern part of Quito, near the pre-Inca site of Rumicucho, and the somehow hidden highland village of San Jose de Minas.

The route is great. It starts with a couple of kilometers uphill, and then you have a long way down until the very bottom of the Guayllabamba River Canyon, the deepest point of our Andes in this part of the country. The environment on the interandean valley is extremely dry, not as in a desert, but you find cactus, pricklypears, agabe, bromeliads and pampas grass all over the place. The landscape is impressive and abrupt, many curves and deep cuts by the road.

After we reached the bottom of this section, and ended the ride at the modern iron bridge, we took some shots of the old cable car used to cross the river. It must have been quite an adventure to also do that; however, we were keen on reaching our families afterwards, so we decided only to ride the bike this time! Then we started our first ascent to the village of Perucho under a not so killer midday sun. For our good luck the weather was a bit cloudy. This whole first section of the route, downhill and uphill, is about 23 km long, and goes over dirt and gravel, until you reach the main asphalted road.

Already riding on asphalt after the first climb, we reached the town of Perucho and we stopped there to fill our back water bags with some rehidrating drinks and then we continued in our journey towards Minas. We went uphill between different crops, and fincas. This whole area has more water than the section before, so you see many small farmers producing whatever they can get out of the soil. We encountered then another downhill, and then our second canyon at the Pataqui River, where there is an old thermal baths pool by the river.

Our last section was a bit long, we were tired and my biking partner and best friend decided to strech his legs in some sections due to a back bone hernia. Finally we reached the town of San Jose de Minas, and took this last shot by the town's church, built in the 1930. It is a great day ride for anyone seeking adventure and excercise.

Technical data
Riding time: + to - 4.5 hours bike ride
Lenght: 48.5 km,
Difference of altitude: 1700 meters.

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