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From butterflies and spiders to soaking wet orchids

Day 5 – To El Cisne and further towards the coast

As you may know by now, we just drive around in the car and stop along the way to follow some trails (more or less existing) when we feel like we might see something interesting.

This time, even though it was very dry on the path, we still managed to find this Lepanthes sp.

The second stop we made was a bit of a tough nut to crack, but resulted in this small Masdevallia sp., with flowers barely opening up.

There was also a particularly populated tree, full of what we think might be Specklinia megalops. Unfortunately, they bloom in November and all we could see were leaves and seedpods.

Again, notice how dry the conditions may seem in these pictures, but here is how they get their daily dose of moisture (and we get a nice dose of awesome views!)

This is also where we decided to grab some lunch, why not with such a view!

It is definitely the time of the year for Cyrtochilum cerratum to bloom…we may have posted pictures of this species before, but take a look at these (especially the tree with at least 3 huge flower spikes)

At the same tree, the owner of the terrain was so nice as to let us enter and walk freely to spot some orchids if we could find some. Orchids? Not so much, except for this Cyrtidiorchis sp.

But boy did we find some nice spiders! Sensitive viewers, be advised.

Much less spidery and more delicate, lots of butterflies!

Our last stop was a good one! Restrepia dodsonii, Muscarella sp., Pleurothallis sertularioides and Macroclinium sp.

As you can see, this day was filled with a lot of hard work…and some nice relaxing. Our guide Ivan is lying down while I’m trying to get a good shot of the tarantula…that’s not right now is it?!

Day 6 – Vilcabamba to Toledo

Now THIS was one hell of a day filled with orchids. Sure, we’ve been walking around in wet clothes, constant wind, moisture and temperatures around 8°C all day, but it was definitely worth it.

Sitting at over 2500m high, we spotted quite a few miniatures along the way. Not much of a story to tell today, just lots of orchids.

First this magnificent Specklinia sp. hanging from a soaking wet branch. No, the pink blur is not an Ecuadorian ghost, it’s Davina in her raincoat.

A very nice colored Fernandezia subbiflora! We’ve encountered these from extremely dry to soaking wet conditions. Always high up and cold though.

We’re not fans of big Maxillaria, but this Maxillaria platyloba was just so weird and beautiful we just had to share it. Or it’s just the altitude talking here, you do feel light-headed at 2800m high.

Dangit! I thought I had a good shot of this extremely beautiful Lepanthopsis apoda, but seeing it on the computer, it wasn’t focused…But you can see the flower well enough to understand its beauty. And what a big plant as well, you don’t see big Lepanthopsis plants often.

2 weird Epidendrum sp. dangling from a tree in almost full sunlight. Not that there’s a lot of sun coming through those constant clouds we’re in... Another shot from Davina showing what lengths we go through to get some orchid shots.

And 2 more beautiful Lepanthes sp. What a day!

Are we done yet? No, not quite. But enough with the orchids for now.

Cheesy, but it’s our blog so hey…a waterfall in the cloud forest at 3000m high!

Sometimes, phone shots really are good. This one is going to end up as a wallpaper I can feel it.

And last but not least, another buddy! See how it resembles a lichen-covered branch? Nature’s crazy yo.

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