Some days it's like living in a cloud - the air wet with tiny droplets of rain that shroud the valley in a misty haze. Waves of this feathery-light wisp will swirl through the hills all day, interspersed with fleeting glimpses of blue sky and bright sunshine - the translucent colours of rainbows arching over the valley are a regular sight. In the wetness of the clouds, it's easy to forget the hills are overlooked by the monstrous Volcán Cayambe. When it does appear, a brilliant ice white crag looming in the distance, it looks starkly out of place against the lush, rolling farmlands.
On my most recent venture, la finca's elderly collie, Guapa, decided to join me. Ignoring my repeated instructions of "Quédate aquí " (Stay here), she snuck out of the gates after me, keeping a discrete distance behind. I didn't realise she was in tow until the battle cries of the first batch of guard dogs crescendoed to unprecedented levels. Terrified she'd be mauled by the neighbours or get lost, I spent most of the run glancing nervously over my shoulder and calling her on. But I needn't have worried. Despite remaining largely out of sight - about 70m behind me on a bendy track - she faithfully followed me the whole way. I stopped to wait for her on the home straight as she bowled towards me, ears flapping and tongue lolling as if smiling broadly. It's fair to say she finished much more strongly than I did.
Clearly, four legs are better than two. I should stick to the horses!