Duration: 3 days – 2 nights
Walking distance: 20km
Rating: Moderately Difficult*
Altitude: We will hike from 3070 up to 4300masl and back.
Best time to visit: December through February are the driest months. April and May are the wettest, when the plains can be extremely soggy and the mud very deep. July and August are coldest.
Observations: This is a challenging and physically demanding trek, because of the high altitude, cold weather and the muddy trail. If raining, mud slogging and cold may add some extra difficulties to it. Even under the more ideal conditions water streams keep parts of the route muddy all year around. Weather in the sierra can change regardless of the season; so raining boots and waterproof clothing are a must. We will carry in our backpacks sleeping bags, clothing and food, which may add a little difficulty because of the weight. Tents, insulating mats, gas tanks and burners will not be needed since we will be staying in a shelter and not in tents. If the use of pack animals is preferred, it can be arranged at an extra price.
TREK DESCRIPTION: The Ecuadorian Andes are dotted with many extinct volcanic cones, but none is as awe-inspiring as that of El Altar. The Collanes plain was carved by glaciation subsequent to the collapse of the crater, and is equally worthy of admiration. We will walk from the hacienda Releche at 3070m to the Collanes Plain at 3830m the first day, enjoy a day hike to the Laguna de Collanes (also knows as Laguna Amarilla) at 4300m the second day, and return to the hacienda and later to Quito the third day. We will encounter marvelous views of the Altar, the Collanes Plain and the Laguna Amarilla throughout the trek.