Thursday, March 27, 2008

Black Sheep Inn, Day One

On Saturday morning, March 15th, we all piled into a rented car driven by Otto, and made the trek to The Black Sheep Inn eco lodge. The trip took about 4 1/2 hours. The first hour or so was on the Pan-American Highway, but we soon turned off onto some really bumpy roads. The road was sometimes cobbled, sometimes paved, sometimes muddy, and sometimes washed out with small landslides cleared away. This spring has been the rainiest in 25 years, and mudslides and road wash outs have been a major problem. The photo on the right is one my sister-in-law Colleen took. You can see the road winding through the mountains. We drove through Lasso, Toacazo, Las Manzanas, Yaló, Sigchos, and finally Chugchilán where we found the Black Sheep Inn. Black Sheep greeted us!

The Black Sheep Inn is pretty cool. They are an eco lodge, which means they try to have as little impact as possible on the environment. The food is vegetarian, water is collected by gravity and pumped and heated by the sun. Food is grown on site, guinea pigs eat veggie scraps, and the bathrooms are dry composting toilets. I was excited about the toilets since you could throw TP in; in modern plumbed Ecuador, you have to throw all the TP in a separate trash can, and that kind of grossed me out. The climb to our rooms was a bit of a challenge due to the hill and the thin air, but the views were wonderful. Our porch is in the photo on the left above, and my nephew Ian sits with a resident dog on the lawn in front of our door. Some of these photos are linked from my Flickr account, so if you click on them you'll get a large high quality image.

We arrived in the afternoon, and we decided to squeeze in a quick hike around the rim which surrounds the inn. We quickly met the resident llamas, and stopped for some great views of the surrounding village and farms.

Sounds great, right? Well, it started pouring. Ian is 6 and was great about the whole thing. Julian is 3 and was fine until he started freezing. His little hands were red and cold, and he was crying. Colleen and I took turns carrying him and fending off neighborhood dogs. My Mom had just had her jacket washed, and it started foaming in the rain. We plodded along, the fantastic views enclosed in clouds and rain. Eventually we got to the end of the ridge, and instead of a nice path down, we found we had to slip and slide our way through cow pies (and cows) down a very very steep hill. It was raining, it was muddy, it was cold, and it was quite literally shitty. There was a small line of trees that offered some hand holds, but they weren't consistently there. Mom and Ian went ahead, and Ian did a fantastic job. Colleen and I took turns hoisting Julian down, and he was just screaming. I totally don't blame him!

When we got back to the cabin, we all had hot showers, got into dried clothes, spread out our wet and muddy clothes, and cranked up he woodstove. It was lovely. We read books, the boys colored and painted, and I began to educate Ian in the ways of Dungeons and Dragons!

We ended the day with a fantastic vegetarian meal in the common room down the hill at the Inn. Tomorrow: Lake Quilotoa and mules!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Hello Julia,

Sorry we didn't get to meet you. Glad that you had a great time at the Black Sheep Inn.

I too play a bit a of banjo and my brother lives just north of Seattle in Mukilteo.

Stop by for another visit if you happen to make the leap for the Galapagos!

ciao from the rural Andes and all the staff at the Black Sheep Inn.