Wolverine Hikes South America

People who know me know that I belong on the Trail. I've thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (twice),the Pacific Crest Trail and the mighty Continental Divide Trail. I've hiked many of the long trails here in Michigan including being the first to hike both the Ironwood Trail and the Great Lake To Lake Trail. In 2017, I hiked the Israel National Trail and the Golan Heights Trail. I was the first to hike the Baja Divide Trail in Mexico but failed miserably to thru-hike the Bruce Trail in Canada. I'm heading for Ecuador to attempt to hike the TEMBR.

The purpose of this blog is to keep anyone who is interested informed of my progress and to encourage those who are able to support me in this endeavor.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The People I Meet in Ecuador

Not even a month into my hike of the Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Route (the TEMBR) and already, I’ve met some pretty memorable characters. 

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1vTbdnIW8PaGUwOIHW301qEeRf-svoFkx

Gotta start with the Dammer brothers (Michael, Mathius and Thomas) and their families. They have just been so charming and generous that I will forever associate them with this hike. They have all worked very hard to create a bucolic slice of heaven right here on earth. Picture acres of green pastures filled with cows, pigs, sheep and alpacas and buildings made from local stone and wood. Laughing children running around in homemade clothes, classrooms filled with books and art work and happy workers that smile and wave. I am fortunate to have visited twice so far

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1CchCPOHq1rolf4GQRcWTxgDvTjuQZjNi
Then there was this family. 
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ss79oAD9MarJ36AmRVDkpgZ7gRfSp2JX

They caught me trespassing on their farm but, instead of calling the police, they invite me in for breakfast! Turns out, Karina (pictured above) is a cousin of the Dammers. They gave me some great advice about what else to see in Ecuador and even gave me a hunk of dried, smoked pork to take with me (it was delicious!). 

I can’t forget this guy.
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1tuI0rZ_OI6TBztombUElVJM_gECjv4-k

I hiked into the tiny town of San Isidro early on a Sunday morning. Everything was closed but Fernando was just opening his tiny tienda. I’m afraid I came across as desperate when I said, “Nessicito cafe!” to him. He didn’t have any coffee to sell but instead, he insisted that I come in and join him and his wife for hot coffee (he served it black with tons of sugar in a small metal cup) and fresh baked bread. The conversation was lacking because of my poor Spanish but I was extremely grateful and I hope I conveyed that. 

Watch out for this guy.
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1ZpfesKAMJEwYPO1nTgEWWTLEj6Nr15t0

I met Jose and his buddies just outside of Guayllabamba. He insisted that I have a pull or two of what they called ‘puntos’. 
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1nZOpIDxpy1dp5EiTpFKRkPeSPNPnRJ0W
It was some kind of fermented fruit juice that really packed a punch. They all laughed as I winced after each sip. I thanked them for their generosity and kept on hiking. 

Then there was this group of crazy Americans.
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1kgb8a8svPYQem72kWLwrtp5F57YUE-U3

They are doing some horseback riding down here and they were very kind to a hungry Wolverine. It was good for my soul to sit with people from back home. We swapped stories and enjoyed a big picnic lunch. Very nice folks. 

I don’t know why I’m lucky (blessed?) enough to meet the people that I do. Maybe they’re curious about the conspicuous American with a giant backpack? I simply smile and say, “Hola! Buen dia!” to everyone I meet. Almost all respond. Some are very kind just for he sake of being kind! I think the world could use more of that. 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your stories restore my faith in humanity. Nice to hear about genuinely kind people, especially to a foreign stranger. I agree, the world could use much more of that. From Mavis.

trish2017 said...

Sounds heavenly! And yes...you are blessed.

Anonymous said...

Chris, great stories. This reminds me of my trip to Peru! So happy for you! Keep up the stories! -- Lee