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FOREST RESERVE OF CHIMBORAZO

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FOREST RESERVE OF CHIMBORAZO


From Guayaquil, when the sky is clear, one can see the majestic Chimborazo that is the highest mountain in the country, with its 6,310 meters of altitude is the King of the Ecuadorian Andes.

The Reserve of Chimborazo was created in October of 1987 to protect the extensive moors, the flora and the fauna of the region, and of this last, mainly to the llamas -a wild South American camel of pointed ears - that is in serious extinction danger.

Who arrive to the lands of the Chimborazo will realize that the abrupt land and the low temperatures are not enough obstacles for not contemplating the moving solitude of the moor or the noble stamp of the snowy volcanos that have made sleepy their fury.

In the center of the Reserve, the Chimborazo and its neighbor the Carihuairazo -that at some time overcame it in altitude- stand out. The thaw of these elevations form creeks that supply of water to the sub-basins of the Ambato, Chambo and Chimbo rivers.

The most visited places in the reserve are:

Chimborazo, main attraction for the tourist. It is an enormous volcanic solid covered with ice. The crater, although it sounds incredible, has a diameter of 20 kilometers. It is calculated that its last eruption happened ten thousand years ago.

The ascent to the Chimborazo is not simple and it presents certain degree of difficulty for the andinistas that yearn to crown its summit of snow. The first refuge in this "fight against the mountain" is at 4800 m.a.s.l. A little above -at 5 thousand meters - a second housing is located, where those "adventurous" can recover forces and spend the night.
The more difficult side to climb it is the Oriental summit, known as Nicolás, Politécnica or Central.

History says that Simón Bolivar -In a stop in his fight for independence- met the volcano, and being seduced by its rural beauty felt inspired to write his notable rehearsal, "My delirium on the Chimborazo", document that made the world to know this place in Ecuador. At the exit of one of the refuges a monument has been erected in honor to the Liberator.

Some "andinistas" that challenged the nature of the Chimborazo were buried by the snow and the ice. Excursionists of all parts of the world have left their remains here. Today one can see their tombstones and keep a respectful silent in their memory.

Besides the andinismo, the area is ideal for the practice of mountain cycling. The most frequented route is the one that begins in the refuge and concludes at the Urbina and San Juan towns.

Due to the irregular climate and the thick fog, the walks of middle mountain should be carried out in company of a qualified guide. It is traditional the visit to the Machay Temple, place where the natives used to pray to the mountain.

Carihuairazo, volcano of smaller altitude (4900 meters) has an enormous boiler of two kilometers of diameter, covered with snow and ice. In 1873, the siblings Carrel and Whymper, were the first ones in crowning this mountain.
The amazing glaciers of Carihuairazo and Chimborazo can be seen in the walk Mocha-Mechahuasca that lasts two days walking between 8 and 10 hours daily. These blocks of ice, used to be cut for the preparation of the known "paila ice creams."

La Chorrera, canyon formed by big vertical rocks of dangerous edges that have up to 100 meters high. It exhibits an unique landscape where the river of the same name starts.

Flora and fauna

Although the reserve is formed by moors, in these lands trees and romerillo, mortiño and chuquiraguas (the flower of the andinista) bushes grow; there are also quishuares, pumamaquis, piquilles and other species originals of the Andes.

Animals that live in the reserve are typical species of the moors, as deer, wolves and rabbits; also, there are vicuñas, Alpacas and Llamas, these last ones in extinction danger for several years, reason for which there have been carried out several projects for their protection and conservation.
The Fauna Reserve is also visited by indefatigable walkers, for whom there are cross country and middle mountain routes. Everyone who goes into the Reserve, accompanied by the guide, will be amazed by the singular beauty of the mountains and the moors.

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Forest Reserve of Chimborazo
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