Thursday, February 24, 2011

Plants of Ecuador

                                            Plants of Ecuador
Ecuador, which only occupies 0.2 % of the planet's area but blessed by its tropical location and other important characteristics, like its altitudinal ranges and a climate devoid of winter conditions for the most parts, has a very diverse vegetation with more than 25 000 species of plants present in the country, which represents approximately 10% of all plants known in the world One of the most diverse in plants of its many bio-geographical regions are the tropical rainforests, where often 300 different species of trees are found in one hectare alone. Many of those tropical trees and palms reach heights of up to 30m and support by themselves a multitude of many other plants like epiphytes and vines. Some of them have medicinal value figured out by trial and error over thousand years by the indigenous people. Moving higher up the mountains you encounter another rich nature zone, the vegetation-dense cloudforests, which is especially diverse in Orchids and Bromeliads and many other flowering plants. There you also find a high variety of ferns and mosses. Trees abound but do not reach the immense heights of the lower tropical rainforests of the Amazon. Reaching the Inter-Andean valleys, we find more natural diversity but also a region, which was completely changed by man and where now many exotic plants are dominant.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Joe Mills, Rocky Mountain National Park

Joe Mills Mountain, Rocky Mountain National Park
Elevation: 11078 ft / 3377 m

Joe Mills Mountain is a small peak that resides 1.5 miles northwest of popular Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Like the majority of the peaks in RMNP, no trails reach the summit. The summit provides an incredibly impressive view of Stones Peak, The Gable, Odessa Lake, Little Matterhorn, Notchtop Mountain, and Ptarmigan Pass.

Hardpack trail from Bear Lake

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Faces of Ecuador

Amazonian frontier towns, Pacific coast fishing villages, rambling old haciendas, packed markets, and colonial cities provide the stage on which Ecuador's cultures intermingle; each striving to maintain its own identity and history while also charting a meaningful path into the future. Due to Ecuador´s compact and diverse nature, one can experience any number of Ecuador's distinct cultures within one day. Journeying just a few hours by car or bus, you can arrive in an entirely new community with its own customs and flavor.
Ecuador has many diverse indigenous groups, many of whom retain their pre-Colombian languages. By far the largest of these groups is the Andean Quichua, who number more than 2 million. Smaller Andean groups include: the Caranqui, the Otavaleños, the Cayambi, the Pichincha, the Panzaleo, the Chimbuelo, the Salasacan, the Tungurahua, the Tugua, the Waranka, the Puruhá, the Cañari, and the Saraguro in the highlands.

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