After all of the adventures that I’ve been on this semester, from snorkeling with sharks to hiking a volcano to bungee jumping, it was okay with me this weekend when we decided to take a break and have a relaxing getaway. This weekend we went to a town called Papallacta which is located in the mountains east of Quito. We only stayed for one night and that was just enough time for me.
We stayed at a hot springs resort and it was probably one of the coolest resorts I’ve ever been to. The resort has tons of hot springs everywhere for you to try out the different temperatures and what not and all of them have incredible views of the mountains. We stayed in cabins which was a fun change from hostels and we had hot springs right outside our door.
Pretty much the whole time we were there I just relaxed in the pools with my friends, having good conversations and forgetting about all of the essays that we had waiting for us in Quito.
Before leaving the resort to head back to the city, a few of us decided to stay a bit longer and do a hike in Parque Nacional Cayambe-Coca. This hike was one of my favorites because it was easy and had amazing views of the mountains around us. We would walk through segments of a forest, crossing bridges over a river while inside the trees, and would come out into the presence of the green mountains that surrounded it all. Truly beautiful in every way.
Eventually we left to get back to the city in the most Ecuadorian fashion: waiting on the side of the road until a bus would hopefully come by. Don’t worry, we only had to wait about ten minutes before one stopped for us. It was a quick trip away but one that was necessary and that brought just enough rest for the upcoming week.
As I looked back on my photos from the weekend I was really struck by the mountains and began thinking about this theme of mountains in my semester. I have faced a lot of mountains this semester, literally and figuratively. Here’s the thing about them: mountains are rarely easy to climb. You feel weak and inadequate and want to give up. However as this semester has gone on I have become less intimidated by mountains and the challenges they bring because I have experienced undeserved grace and constant faithfulness in the most difficult climbs. The struggles are real and that is okay. Struggles are a part of life. But there is joy that comes when the thing that once made us weak is overcome.