There is a country in the middle of the world called Ecuador, and there is a volcano in the middle of Ecuador, called Chimborazo.
Northwest of Riobamba, the Chimborazo rises. The majestic, imposing and eternal watchtower of the Universe. Covered with perpetual snow. It always shines at sunset and glows with the moonlight.
With a height of 6263.47 meters above sea level, it’s the furthest point from the center of the earth and the closest to the sun.This extinct volcano, has two shelters on its way to attempting summit. The first at 4850 m. and the second one at 5000 m. If you pass the second shelter, there is a magic lagoon in the middle of the glaciers called “Cóndor Cocha” at 5100m., which means “Condor Lagoon”. If you don’t know your way around this place and you don’t want to get lost, the safest way to get up there is with a local guide.
At the foot of this volcano you’ll be able to see some vicuñas and andean foxes. And at night, you may be lucky enough to appreciate the most beautiful starry skies you’ll ever get to see. If you love stargazing, this is the place for you. Having the Milky Way stretched out across the sky, while enjoying the stillness of the night and the freezing winds hitting your face, is a feeling like no other.
There are many legends about the Chimborazo, so I’ll tell you one of my favorites:
“The Children of Father Chimborazo” is an original legend of the central highlands of Ecuador. Among the indigenous and mestizo population of this area, there is a belief that the Chimborazo, commonly fecundates women who fall asleep at foot of the volcano, or urinate within its territory; and at the moment of giving birth, babies are born albinos: white skin, golden hair and ivory bones.
The story says that a long time ago, Mother Tungurahua -a volcano believed to be female- reproached her husband – the Chimborazo- for not giving her children as white as him. She was full of anger and as a way of revenge, she would spit on his face the ash and mud that boiled inside her belly.
To avoid the rebukes of Mother Tungurahua, the legend tells that he let a beautiful shepherdess pass by his downhills in pursuit of one of her lost sheep, there she found a beautiful white-skinned bean, lovingly picked it up and kept it between her waist and her womb.
It is said that from that moment on, the beautiful girl’s belly became bigger every day, month after month; until after nine moons she gave birth to a beautiful baby with white skin and golden hair, like an Apu -a mountain spirit- and very similar looking to Father Chimborazo. The baby became his firstborn.
Because of this legend, the population in the region calls the children born with these physical characteristics “The Children of the Hill or the Mountain”. Since then, it is believed that the albino babies are children of the Chimborazo.