Updated: Aug 1, 2019
After we parked the car, we went up toward our objective: Refugio José Rivas. We already were at an altitude of 14,765 feet [4,500 m], with just 985 feet [300 m] to go. But the lack of oxygen and the sandy terrain made the climb very hard. I had to stop every five steps, otherwise I felt like my head was going to explode. When we finally arrived at the refuge, amidst the fog, I tried locro de papas for the first time: a delicious traditional Ecuadorian soup. It was snowing outside, and the soup was just perfect.
On the way back, Diego left me in the camping area of the national park and took the other guests back to the lodge. After several hours with an intense headache, I set up tent, grabbed my camera and decided to walk to Limpiopungo Lake, one of the most emblematic places in the region. Luckily, as the sun was setting, the clouds started to dissipate, giving way to a miniature rainbow at the foot of the Cotopaxi Volcano. The páramo wind is overwhelming. I went around the lake watching the fog disappear and was able to make a time-lapse video of the whole thing.
After seeing a landscape like this, my headache was gone and I was able to sleep very well in this extraordinary place. I think I can go to the Andes now. I have adapted to the heights.