Ecuador: Day Eight – Rio Blanco to Viche

Looking out in the early morning light over the mounds of the tents was surreal. Pity I didn’t have my camera in working order as it would have made a great photo. I passed John Lyons on the way to/from the loo block this morning & I told him to be careful as there were mirrors on the wall – I’d frightened myself silly looking into one.

It was dry when we broke camp but mercifully it was quite overcast & what could have been an unbearably hot ride was quite tolerable & we had the joy of riding miles along newly laid concrete whilst the main traffic struggled along the broken & potholed road to the side of us.

We had what was described as an undulating morning (sort of pretends no hills) but it was quite pleasant through large & small farms with interesting countryside although a scary degree of de-forestation. We had a decent lunch at a roadside café although catered by our own guys & I was feeling a lot stronger when we set off for the afternoons ride & managed to push hard to the last of our camping nights, a river side stop down a long rocky road. The river itself didn’t look too inviting but after we’d pitched tents in a steamy banana plantation & got thoroughly hot, it was the only place to be & after carefully negotiating the rocky stones we sat for an hour or so, passing round the shampoo & enjoying the cool. The really organised guys rocked up with cold beers so enjoyed true luxury.

Alistair provided a little light relief by swimming across the river & then trying to return against the fast flowing tide. Even walking a long way upstream left him way downstream by the time he was back, but it did provide some entertainment & we fell just short of auctioning off his belongings.

Having been told it hadn’t rained for 4 months in these parts, many of the group pitched tents on the concrete forecourt (which meant they couldn’t use the outer rain cover) but I hadn’t the energy to consider redoing ours, so we stayed in the ‘jungle’. However I did set up a pole across a couple of trees & hung my (much mocked) yellow canvas bucket at one end with a supply of water for mornings ablutions plus my towel & other items, to dry. Feeling pleased with my efforts I hit the sack at some ridiculously early hour. During the night, I managed to convince myself that the noise on the tent was the palm fronds, but no such luck, it had rained & not only had my laundry not dried but the whole lot had collapsed into a muddy heap.

It was without a trace of regret that we began to decamp for the last time this trip in the drizzle of the early morning.