When you get to the top of the mountain you will encounter a large Welcome sign (Bienvenidos). At this point you will see a small gravel road that goes off to the left. There is a fork in this road, the left fork going back down hill and the right fork heading up to the antennas and entrance to the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve. About 300 meters from the main road on the right fork you will encounter a gate and a ranger station. If there should be someone at the station you might have to pay a small fee to enter the park.
When visiting this area you need to keep in mind that you will be in the cloud-forest and the chances of getting a clear day are not in your favor. The pass itself is at about 4,100 meter (13,600 ft) above sea level. You will need to dress for the weather and climate. Layer your clothing to keep warm and take rain poncho or rain jacket to protect you from the elements.
|Tawny-Antpitta (Grallaria hypoleuca)|
I decided to take the left fork first, an area that is generally missed by tourists. The road is fairly good and easily walked. There are a number of small ponds along the road that attract Andean Teal and Torrent Ducks. Here I encounter some Tawny Antpitta and Stout-billed Cinclode. A Variable Hawk passed overhead as well as an Andean Gull. The birds were quite active but the weather conditions prevented me from taking many photos. I saw several Rufus Wren along the road. (Lat. 0 19' 20", Lon: 78 12' 41")
|Bar-winged Cinclode (Cinclodes fuscus)|
I did not spend a lot of time at the pass on this day but I plan on returning when it is a little clearer. I would like to explore the lower fork a little more as there were a lot of birds in this area. I can see the mountains from my bedroom window in Quito and I have been watching for a clear morning. The first one that I see I will head back up to the pass for a better look.