We decided to have half a day off. After 6 days of non-stop orchid hunting, a little pool-time doesn't hurt. Half a day was plenty though to spot some orchids! The next day, our way to Zumba (a 4 hour drive) was less impressive, so that's a short one.
Day 7 - Vilcabamba road to Valladolid
A big road with quite a bit of traffic, pretty dry and sunny. You'd think there wouldn't be much to see, but hiding in the bushes there's always something to spot.
First this small flowered Telipogon sp. Not very impressive, but anything Telipogon is worth a picture.
At the same spot, a tiny Muscarella sp. and a weird looking seedpod on a Dichaea sp.
The more we persevered, the more we found! A simple, but nonetheless pretty Pleurothallis sp. and a very large flowered mini-miniature Trichosalpinx sp.
Not immediately our thing, but a large patch of terrestrial orchids with nicely colored leaves caught our eye while not looking up for a second. Cyclopogon sp.?
Back to the car for some more driving. From afar, this might look like the typical Cyrtochilum cerratum we've seen many times so far, but this one is different. Cyrtochilum trifurcatum is another one of those orchids with very long inflorescences.
We decided to look around for a bit and found this large clump of Pleurothallis sp. First time we've seen this in bloom, they're usually all dried up.
Last one at that location: Pleurothallis canaligera definitely stands out.
We do tend to look at other things than orchids as well you know. Just look at this large flowered Utricularia sp. or this creeping Begonia sp. with beautiful leaves.
And then...we hit the motherload. No less than 5 different Lepanthes species at the same spot! We couldn't believe our luck! Sitting in full sun (?!), dripping wet and along a stream, a mix of impressive Lepanthes, amongst which the very nice Lepanthes mucronata.
Finally, this is me trying to get a good shot of those Lepanthes. No, it's even harder than it looks.
Day 8 - Vilcabamba to Zumba
Apart from a lot of "derrumbes" (landslides) along the way, it really was a quiet day for orchids. But when in Ecuador, you have to try hard not to spot any orchids, even if it's along the highway. Check out this lonely Sobralia rosea growing on the side of the road.
Another lonely fellah, this Epidendrum calanthum sure is pretty enough for such and orchidless day!
Speaking of landslides, this small village is having to close off all its houses on one side as the ground there is literally sliding away. This one's foundations is just hanging in the air... Definitely not something we'd have to worry about in Belgium, with our highest peak just below 700m.
What DO you take pictures of when there are no orchids around? More butterflies, duh.
Arriving at Zumba around 2 PM, we decided to go to Peru for a drink. After all, we're so close to the border it wouldn't be fair NOT going across. Here's a picture taken in no-man's-land and then from the bar where we had a drink.
The black tarp is coffee drying in the sun. Cool.