reach this place of safety where he had spent a whole night. I assisted him to seek his burros,
which had disappeared in the meantime, and after a long search we recovered them.
Two seemingly interminable and unpleasant journeys over cold and windswept paramos ,
the worst of which is called 'El Angel,' and we gradually descended again, and finally rode
into Tulcán, the Ecuadorian border town.
As a termination to this chapter, a short description of the peculiar method by which the
natives of Ecuador catch condors, or mountain vultures, may be of interest. A flat piece of
tableland is selected, and here a dead horse or cow, well-salted, is laid. The hunters then con-
ceal themselves in the neighbourhood and it is not long before condors assemble to take ad-
vantage of the feast thus unexpectedly provided, and gorge themselves to the limit of their
capacity. When the birds have eaten so much that they are almost torpid, the hunters rush
out with lassos and clubs. The birds being unable to rise quickly owing to the flatness of the
ground - they require a slope to take off properly - and their post-prandial heaviness, are eas-
ily lassoed and then killed with clubs.
The mountains, especially the snow-covered 'Chile' and 'Cumbal,' were looking their best
when we crossed into Colombia next morning. The road across the border led over a natural
bridge called Rumichaca (Quichua: Stone Bridge), at the border of which customs officers,
wearing dirty clothes, stopped us and demanded to see my documents, but, as in most other
countries, they had been advised of my arrival and treated me with courtesy. One of the fron-
tier patrol escorted me to the little border village where the authorities gave me a very warm
welcome. From there we followed a good road; but there were many long and tiring climbs
over broken country.
In this neighbourhood there are several volcanoes. In 1906 and 1924 some severe earth-
quakes did a great deal of damage in this region and caused the loss of numerous lives. We
passed near a remarkable volcanic lagoon, the colour of which, owing to the great quantities
of sulphur it contains, is of a pretty green.
As in some of the other countries we had already passed, even large villages have no run-
ning water systems. There usually is a little stream, called acequia , down the main street. It is
time it is not uncommon to see people fill their water-jugs or drink out of these acequias !!
Colombia has few railroads, because it is very mountainous and the general topography is
der and Colombia's richest and most important territory, the Cauca Valley, trails provide the
only means of communication, with here and there a short stretch of road.