Who let the Dogs out?

Who let the Dogs Out?

Or, Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls…

After a delightful breakfast and a 20 minute drive we were the first tour group to pull into Pachunga Cascadia, or waterfall. This park is run by the local indigenous people who maintain the trails, service the banos and of course sell trinkets to the tourists.

Our bus driver Ermis, the second best driver in all of Ecuador, dropped us off to tackle our first challenge, the weird Archway of Misting Sanitizer that we had to walk through, step on the sanitizing mat and then sanitize our hands. Keep in mind that this is all out in the open area of a parking lot.

I have to applaud Ecuador for embracing the Covid restrictions, everyone wears a mask even while driving, everyone. There are murals on walls with masks painted on them and mottos like, we can do this or we are all in this together.

So, after being fully sanitized we hiked up towards the waterfalls with making a bathroom break in the campground. Like so many public restrooms here there was a little old lady selling toilet paper and use of the facilities for .15 cents. The Potty Lady also keeps the rooms clean. Our guide Marco would often bring a roll of toilet paper for some unmanned restrooms as they would often be out of TP, or in one case the gizmo machine dispensing TP didn’t work.

After 15 minutes of hiking we were at the waterfall for some photos before returning back. On the way back we cut through the campground to use their restroom again, (our group all had small bladders), and we started chatting with one of the Potty Ladies who was a small indigenous woman. The Potty Lady became enamored with Marla and wanted to know what country she was from, what state and where she was going next. They seemed to be getting on so well that I asked her for a photo and she agreed. Indigenous people generally do not like having their photo taken. But wait she said, she took off her woolen knit cap and started to brush her hair before I was allowed to take her photo. Afterwards she wanted to see it and I promptly let her scroll through the photos. She let out a laugh showing the other Potty Lady a pic with her eyes closed. Some things are universal.

There are always plenty of dogs around on these excursions and today there were more than usual. A pack! Well maybe 6 dogs hanging out being dogs until a dog from out of the pack crossed the little bridge into the campground and then it was Battle of the Barking Dogs. This intruder was a little scrappy thing that apparently wanted to see what the gringos were up too. Who wouldn’t? We looked weird, sounded weird and surely smelled weird. The barking and good natured posturing continued and we were now in the middle of it. It kept going and the little scrappy dog’s friends now crossed the bridge to join the fun. Dogs from both sides were up against our legs protecting us from the other dogs.

We were not scared but we were not flattered by this affection either, the fully awakened campers were now out of their tents and amused, the Potty Ladies were laughing and we were laughing. Just like that it was over and the camp dogs kept their pride while the intruders ran off.

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