6.14.2008

A Weekend at the Black Sheep Inn - Part III

On the last day of our trip to the Black Sheep Inn. I woke up with an incredible sore body from the 4-hour horseback ride the day before. We decided there was one more hike we wanted to do before we left. At first I was ready to stay in bed, but I knew it would probably be worth the effort, so I decided to join everyone else and go on one last hike.We decided there was one more hike we wanted to do before we left. At first I was ready to stay in bed, but I knew it would probably be worth the effort, so I decided to join everyone else and go on one last hike. That morning we had one of the nicest views from our room.The hike was pretty tough. We had to walk down then back up a very steep trail to get to the plateau that overlooks a canyon. Rachel and I did a lot of stopping and resting!
Ronnie and I found out future home. :)Once we got to the edge of the plateau, the views were incredible. The canyon was quite large.Ronnie, the model.On our way back...we ran into this lady. She asked for money to have her picture taken. Ronnie promised her a dollar then all he had was .30 cents. She wasn't happy!The hike was beautiful and I'm glad I did it. One way back to the cabin for breakfast, we saw one of the managers who told us a bus had flipped up the road. Of course we went to check it out. Luckily, no one other than the driver was in the buss at the time and he wasn't injured. This is why we will never take public transportation on mountain roads. :)

6.07.2008

A Weekend at the Black Sheep Inn - Part II

Now that I realize how many pictures we have from this trip, I think it may be better to break it up into 3 parts. For now, here is Part II...

After the dance performance, it was almost time for dinner. Each night, dinner was served family style. Everyone staying at the Inn gathered in the main cabin for a delicious vegetarian dinner. (Ronnie was thrilled with the lack of meat). Both nights, we met some interesting people...all with very different stories. We met a writer from Canada who travels to S. America often, this time he stopped at The Black Sheep Inn to get away to clear his head for writing. We met a couple from Switzerland who quite their jobs to travel for a year. I think they were on month 8 of their travels. We also most some other Americans and some Brits. Everyone was very friendly.
On day two of our trip, Ronnie and I scheduled to go horseback riding. The guide picked us up around 9:30 a.m. and the trip would be 4 hours. The route we took was up to a local cheese factory then through a cloud forest. I can only remember riding a horse once in college so I was a little nervous. I asked the guide if they horses were calm and if we'd be going slow. He assured me "yes" for both. Off we went...So, initially we went at a nice steady pace along the mountain roads. Eventually, I think the guide was anxious to speed things up. He occasionally would whip Ronnie's horse to speed him up to a trot, which would get my horse to speed up, as well. It was an uneasy feeling, but once I got the hang of it, it wasn't so bad. Not too long after that, the horses started galloping. That, I didn't like so much! Again, after getting used to it, it was ok. (Ronnie was so proud!) Unfortunately, my horse always wanted to be in the front of the group. Even if it meant he had to walk along the very edge of the road (with a very high drop to the side) to get to the front of the pack. Not very settling for me.
We eventually made it to the cheese factory. It was not the nicest place, and unfortunately, the people weren't very welcoming, but we did get to watch the process for about 10 minutes. (No pictures allowed.) The cheese at the inn is from this factory, so we decided we would try some when we got back. After the long ride to the factory, we were ready to head back to the inn. We told the guide we didn't need to do the full walking tour of the cloud forest.
On our way to the forest, we had to ride through some very narrow and muddy paths. Of course with my horse being in the front, Ronnie could see him slipping every so often. I just hoped he would fall over and fall on top of me!Once we got to the could forest, our guide tied the horses up and took us for a walk to point out some of the interesting parts of the forest.He pointed out some medicinal plants, then took us to some orchids that were absolutely gorgeous!The weather seemed to get worse and worse as we headed back. Luckily it never really rained, but all the moisture in the air got us pretty soaked nonetheless. When we got back, we ordered our cheese platter and warmed up in the cabin.Later on we caught back up with Brent and Rachel. The guys decided they wanted to try the zip line.
After Ronnie and Brent did it, I decided it didn't look too high or too long, so I'd give it a try.It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be!


That's all for now. I'll add Part III soon!

6.04.2008

A Weekend at The Black Sheep Inn - Part I

Because this will be a very long post, and to keep me from sitting at the computer for several hours, I'm going to break this up into two posts. I give you Part I...

Two weeks ago, Ronnie and I went on a road trip with our friends Brent and Rachel and their son Grant. Brent heard about this place called
The Black Sheep Inn in Chugchilán, Ecuador. It's an ecologically friendly hotel with lots of hiking and activities. The website says it was 115 miles and 4+ hours...it took us MUCH longer! We left Saturday morning at 8:15 a.m. On the first part of the trip, the roads were decent and there was some nice scenery.On our way the the Inn, we had plans to stop a Lake Quilotoa. When we arrived at the lake, it was rainy and foggy and the view of the lake wasn't so great. We decided to go back to the car to eat some lunch then check it out again. We're happy we waited because the view got a lot nicer!After we spent some time taking pictures, we headed back out on the road to get to our destination. Because it had rained quite a bit, the road conditions were not as nice as we would have liked them to be. Luckily, we were in Brent and Rachel's car! (They have the same car as us, but with 4x4.) We were driving on muddy roads along the side of a mountain. At some points you could see that some of the road had collapsed and every now and then our car would slide a bit because of the mud. SCARY! At one point, as we approached a very narrow and very muddy piece of road, Rachel and I decided we didn't want to go across in the car...not with the way the car had slid a few minutes ago. So we had the guys stop the car, Rachel grabbed the baby's car seat and the three of us walked through the mud until we were on "solid" ground again. We hopped back in the car and off we went. (Later that night I asked Ronnie if he was ever freaked out by the road conditions earlier in the day and he replied, "I don't blame you guys for getting out and walking when you did.") So, what should have been a 45 min. to an hour drive from the lake to the inn took us about 2 hours because of the crappy roads. The only thing that helped was knowing we would be taking a different route on the way home!

Once we got to the Inn, we unloaded the car and headed to our rooms. The place is on beautiful grounds with different buildings spread out throughout the hilly property. Of course, our rooms were in the building at the very top...it was a bit of a hike, but that's what we were there for, right? Our room was very cute and quite big. It could have slept 6 people. There were 2 double beds, one with a twin bed above as a bunk, then a loft above them all with another double bed. The room also it a nice little fireplace with all the wood you needed. There was also a lot of evidence that they really were an ecologically friendly place. There were 3 baskets for recycling (paper, plastic and metal), the lamps were made from recycled liquor bottles and the shower walls were also made from old bottles.The most interesting part was the compost toilet. As you can see, there was a regular toilet seat, but not a regular toilet. When you lift the seat, it's much like a porta potty where everything just sits at the bottom. When you're done doing your business there's a box of "dry stuff" (wood chips), you take a scoop and dump it in. As gross as it may sound, it really wasn't that bad and to our surprise, it didn't smell at all. After we got settled into our rooms, we went down to the Yoga Studio for a performance by some local children. It was very cute and during their final performance they got Rachel, Brent, and Ron to dance.After the performance, the girls asked Brent if they could hold Grant. Much to Rachel's surprise, he handed the baby over to them. It did make for some very cute pictures!On that note, I'm going to leave the rest for part II.
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