Just outside of the town of Baños sits a seismic monitoring station called La Casa del Arbol. It is a short drive, or a long hike to the view point, but regardless of how you get there so worth the trip.
As you leave Banos heading toward Puyo, there is a road that cuts off to the right marked with signs for Luna Runtun. Heading up the mountain on this road, there is another split – to the left is a dirt road that will lead you to the canopy tour and to the right the paved road continues toward La Casa del Arbol. About a twenty minute drive, winding and curving up the mountain will lead you to a grassy parking area with a small sign marking the place. We got out of the car and headed up the path. Then there was a cow.
I was raised in the country, but I don’t do cows. I stopped in the middle of the path, hoping that the cow, who Roland affectionately called Moorton, would move out of the way. The locals came by, telling me that the cow wouldn’t bother me, and walked on past Morton, speaking to him gently. Roland followed their lead, speaking calmly to the cow and arriving intact on the other side of the path. I giggled, trying to convince myself that the cow would neither kick me nor decide to poop in my direction as I passed. I did not succeed. I took the less travelled path down the side of the mountain off the path.
The rest of the path was cow-free, so we made it to the top without further incident. As we traveled to Ecuador during the rainy season, we spent a large portion of the trip fighting the clouds at each overlook we visited. The same was true of this one. The lookout point from the house is supposed to be one of the best views of the Volcan Tungurahua, which was active and spewing the occasional volcanic rock during our visit. We only saw clouds and smoke, but the real reason we made the trek up to the house was to see The Swing at the End of the World.
Hanging from a metal pipe sticking out of the side of La Casa del Arbol is an old wooden swing that’s path takes you out over the edge of the cliff.
The swing is a wooden plank held up by ropes. There is a thin line with a carabineer you can attach across the front as a seat belt of sorts.
Something about its simplicity makes the experience incredible.
Roland went up into the house to enjoy the view. I, however, would not go above the first platform.
The swing is one thing, but the house is rickety. I know that’s not entirely logical, but I don’t really care. I still didn’t go in the house.
The return trip to the car involved a trip down the side of the mountain through a number of cows, but none in such close quarters as Moorton. I can’t wait to go back to this place. I would love to see the view without the clouds.