Denis Drouin’s Diary
Climate Change, Canopies and Wildlife in the Ecuadorian Andes

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September 25, 2009: Santa Lucia

DenAtWorkInWater Today is one more sunny day in Quito. But today is also different. We are going to make the last leg of our trip to Santa Lucia Reserve, base point of our expedition. A bus came to pick up us at 09:00 am. We were driven northwest of Quito, on the amicably named "Superjhighway #1." After one hour of driving in the most polluted town and suburb I have ever seen, we started to see more and more nature. Quito is surrounded by mountains, but we could see very clear indication of human presence, like plenty of radio towers, high voltage electrical poles and lines, etc. The further we went, the more those things disappeared. We turned on a small and tortuous road. Let’s call it road 1. From small road to smaller trail (may be "trail 1"). Yes, there's no more pavement. To cross a little brook, the driver has to go very slowly at some point. Less and less civilization, as we sink deeper into the Andean rainforest. We arrive at the end of this trail. The bus can no longer go forward, but the journey is not over yet. Some Ecuadorian gentlemen with mules are waiting for us and our backpacks. I’m really HummingBirdFlying excited now, for the next ten days I’ll be in this huge natural place with no more noise, no more pollution. I’ll be living with ecological minded people in a gorgeous place. By working with them, I am helping scientist understand climate change and wild life. Isn’t it wonderful? Oh yes, but first let’s climb this mountain. Now the trail is so small and steep, that it can be used by 4X4 trucks, mules, human and others forest mammals. Half an hour later it is now very narrow. One after the other we walk up the trail never wider then 1 meter. We are now surrounded by luxurious nature, thousands of plant species are all around us. The trail is very steep. It is easy to recognise those that are in good shape from ColeopteraEscarabajo those who are not. At the top of the mountain stands the Santa Lucia main lodge. WOW! THE VIEW IS BREATHTAKING! From all directions we see forest and mountain. I really have the sensation of being on the top of the world. This is a great reward for the effort of walking up. After all have arrived, everybody has been assigned to his “cabana”, taken a shower and had a very much appreciated dinner. We talk together after dinner then off to bed to sleep like a baby. 

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