My Feel Again Project Adventures are just wrapping up – I am writing this from the airport – but I am already struggling to put the trip into perspective. It was an interesting trip, for sure, and it helped me discover a new country that I have always wanted to explore! Although my time was short, I definitely fell in love with Ecuador. It won’t be long before I return. I have some unfinished business with its three great volcanos – Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, and Cayambe.
For this project, I joined “Team Canada” along the Ecuador coast. Additional teams from the UK, Germany, and USA explored the Amazon, Andes, and Galapagos, respectively. Before I get started on my 3 favourite Feel Again Project Adventures, here is a trailer that sums up our entire experience:
My 3 Favourite Feel Again Project Adventures
1. Learning to Surf in Montanita
If I am to be entirely honest, I need to admit that I have always been afraid of surfing. And it isn’t because of a fear of sharks or other ocean creatures. I am afraid it might be too addicting!
I’ve long been obsessed powder turns. Its an addiction that has seen me chase storms across continents, buy copious amounts of equipment, and suffer through frostbite to find perfect turns. I kinda view surfing as a similar passion, but minus the freezing cold temperatures or expensive equipment. It sounds too god to be true, so I’ve always avoided learning, just in case it uproots my entire lifestyle.
After a quick attempt, it became immediately evident that my ribs aren’t yet healed from my Tour Divide accident. It hurt too much to lie on the board and paddle, so I soon abandoned my board and traded it for a handheld GoPro. It was fun attempting to shoot in the waves for the first time and I walked away with a few images I was absolutely thrilled with.
Our short lived lesson was with Buena Onda Surf School and I couldn’t recommend them enough.
2. Wildlife Watching in Cloud Forests and Mangroves
During my travels in Ecuador, I spent time searching for wildlife in three distinct wilderness settings.
The absolute highlight, at least in terms of potential, was a day trip to MaquiPucuna cloud forest north of Quito. Our goal was to take advantage of some recent local intel to track down the elusive Andean Spectacled bears that had recently been sighted in the area. Luck wasn’t on our side, but the excitement and possibility alone made it a memorable experience.
Before that, my wildlife sightings began with howler monkeys in the Pacoche Reserve near the town of Manta. The reserve featured a great 3-hour hike through a sub-tropical rainforest that was home to plenty of howler monkeys. It was a gorgeous hike; however, the only monkeys we spotted were too high in the trees to photograph well.
The third wildlife stop was a mangrove forest between Playas and Guayaquil. The 2-hour boat ride sneaks through the forest in search of dolphins. We were successful at sunset; however, I was never able to capture the perfect photo.
Although all three of these wildlife settings resulted in fewer images than expected, all three experiences were incredible.
3. Jaw Dropping Views at Laguna de Quilotoa
Before the Feel Again Project adventures officially began in Quito, I spent three days exploring the Andes. On the drive between the capital and Baños, I stopped at Laguna de Quilotoa. I had no idea it would be one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen! The lake sits within a giant volcano crater and twin volcanos – called Illinezas lie in the distance.
It’s an adventurous location, too, with a surreal 10 km hike that circles the crater rim. Alternatively, it’s possible to hike down to the lake to kayak beneath the towering crater walls. Throughout each activity, I felt absolutely tiny in this Andean landscape.
Learn More About my Feel Again Project Adventures
This Feel Again Project Adventure post is part of a series developed in partnership with Ecuador Travel. Watch for these upcoming posts:
- Feel Again in Ecuador – October Desktop Wallpapers
- 21 Ways to Feel Again on the Ecuador Coast
- A Photographer’s Guide to Ecuador
- Feel Again in Ecuador Video Launch