Thursday, December 25, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
On 8 December I traveled from Huancané to a small Aymara town just to the southeast of
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
After leaving Georgia I flew to Hartford, CT. Continental kept to schedule and got all my luggage there just fine. I grabbed my rental car and had a couple of hours of daylight left. What to do? Since I'd prepared beforehand I had already downloaded a number of geocaches around the Bradley International Airport so it was straight from Thrifty out to the north of the airport. The first one was one of my favorites. It is a virtual memorializing the firefighters who've given their lives in the call of duty. Just north of the airport there's a really impressive monument. See the picture. One note: Connecticut is cold! I made it out to the west of the airport and found another interesting cache. This one is called Oink! (GCRTK7) and is located along a greenway trail. Just as the sun was setting and the wind was picking up I found this one. I had to run back to the trailhead parking area it was so cold. From there I headed south to the town of Farmington to find my hotel. Thank goodness for my GPSr because I got all turned around on the roads and was able to track to one of the caches that was located close to the hotel. I got checked in and took off to buy some more clothes. Most of all I needed the cold weather rain jacket I bought. Thanks to sales at JC Penney's I'm set for the morning and supporting the economy.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I finally arrived at Berry College, just outside Rome, Ga. This is my third trip here in about 11 years. Every time I come I'm amazed at the beauty of the place. I'm enjoying the opportunity to geocache. We got in on Friday night around midnight after a long day of travel plagued by weather travel delays. We rented a car and made it to Berry College in the drizzling rain. I got up the next morning at 6 a.m. to go caching knowing I'd have to be back no later than 8 a.m. It is dark in Georgia at 6 a.m. Instead of snopping around the barns and buildings on campus in the dark; something that might attract unwanted attention from the campus police, I drove off campus to several other caches. On the way out enough morning light made it possible to search without a flashlight. I DNFed two but found one. At lunch break I headed the 500-some feet from the parking lot to the closest cache on campus. Left a geocoin and made it back to the conference on time. The tree colors are beyond peak but the area is beautiful nonetheless.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Hey I just remembered a neat cache hunt from last year that I want to add. I traveled to Santa Cruz, Bolivia to visit a friend. He was not a geocacher and had never heard of the hobby. I told him about it and asked if he wouldn't mind driving out to find the only geocache in the area. He agreed and off we went to look for Las Lomas de Arena geocache about 15 kilometers south of the city. First let me say that we couldn't find the cache. It isn't there anymore. Apparently it was discovered or destroyed and disposed of as the result of a brush fire. In Bolivia they do a lot of slash and burn to clear the land. This cache was supposed to be at the base of a cactus. I was saddened to not find it but the trip was not a total loss. Just a few kilometers ahead were the sand dunes. These things are incredible. Out in the middle of shrub brush and cattle pastures rises up a series of sand dunes, some up to five or six stories high. It is the strangest thing to see sand dunes such as you would expect in the desserts of Northern Africa sitting out in the pastures of flat, hot, semi-tropical Bolivia. But there they were. I'll include a picture so you'll believe me. The dunes stretch for several kilometers. Several of the dunes are next to some small ponds of water. These dunes are popular for sandboarding. I climbed up on one of the dunes and felt like I was towering over the pasture land below. If you ever go to Santa Cruz, take advantage of the inexpensive taxis and go visit the dunes.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I'm on a mission! I wish it was a caching run lasting all day but its not. I'm on a rescue mission to save some languishing Travel Bugs and Geocoins. Some of you may be asking what is a TB. Its a small twist on the sport of geocaching. You can purchase a small trackable "dog tag" and attach it to an item you wish to send on a mission. That item can be anything from a stuffed animal or a medallion or, and this was kind of strange, a glob of something or other that was designed to teach people what fat looks like. You drop your TB in a cache, go to the website and indicate it is released and watch it travel from cache to cache around the world. Of course, you indicate where you would like it to go. Some folks take pictures of it along the way and post them to the TB page on www.geocaching.com. Geocoins are coins with a tracking code and they do the same things.
Anyway, listening to Podcacher (weekly iTunes downloadable podcast about geocaching) or reading posts in the different geocaching forums, I’ve heard of Travel Bugs and Geocoins that get stuck in a geocaches and don’t move along. Here in
Today I had a particularly stressful day and need some time out in the woods. I took off with a goal of recovering four or five languishing TBs scattered across the Metropolitan Park above Quito. First to Karen's Caper TB Hotel
So, I have rescued three travelers and will move them along. I have a trip out of Ecuador and to the US this weekend and hope to drop them in Georgia or Connecticut. I hope to drop some of them in the TUC series of caches in the West Hartford Reservoir just west of Hartford, Connecticut!
A closing note. Thanks to several who've made comments on this blog. Please forgive the lateness in responding. It has to do with my inexperience with how to manage the comments.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday morning nine of us packed up two 4X4s and headed just a little north of the ecuator to Fuya Fuya Volcano. We climbed up the volcano from the town of Tabacundo. The road was passable but pretty muddy after some hard rain the night before. Once we crested the edge of the volcano we had a beautiful view of the larger of the two lagunas. Even though we knew that one of the roads would be impassable, we drove as far as the Mojanda Volcano cache . bcargile found the cache! After some quick maintenance, including moving the cache to a safer location, (yes, it is one of my caches) we headed back up the trail and around to the laguna by a safer road. It took a while for us to make up our minds as to where to set up camp. We finally chose a spot set back from the laguna. We got our tents up, ate a quick lunch and set out on a hike around the laguna. Our party included five adults and four children. The smallest is four. I was surprised at how well the children did. Ignacio and Mercedes took good care of their kids, sometimes carrying the youngest on what turned out to be a 9.5 mile hike. We hiked clockwise around the laguna. The first part of the trail was gentle with little climbing and a well-marked trail. About a fifth of the way around the laguna the trail disappeared and we had to cut through about a quarter mile of marsh. We struggled through the waist-high pampa grass for a long time before leaving the marsh. Once out of the marsh our hopes were that the trail we found would take us to the road bordering the laguna. Not so. After climbing into a small saddle we looked down on a quarter mile of high Andean humid forest running up from the laguna to the high cliffs. Our only choice was to push on and hope for a trail through the forest. No one wanted to go back through the marsh. We climbed down to the edge of the laguna and started into the thick humid forest. There was a barely discernable trail where someone had machetted through. We were climbing under and over Quinual trees, through mud and vines. Finally Dustin, our 13-year old scout out front, called out that we were out of the woods! We were ready for that but no sooner than we cleared the humid forest we found ourselves in another marsh. Fortunately Dustin found a trail right by the laguna and we followed it around to a fish hatchery. Now the fun part. We were half way around the laguna and hard rain set in. From the hatchery we met the mud road that would lead us around the rest of the laguna. We climbed up and down fingers leading down into the laguna, passing by several cars that were stuck in the mud. Some of those will likely be there for several days. We got to one point where everyone took the high road but me. I could see a trail paralleling the laguna edge, about 150 meters above it. It was a cattle trail through the pampa grass. We agreed the that they would come looking for me if I didn't get back to camp ahead of them. Off we went, not in a race, but eager to get back to camp before dark. We were soaked from the pouring rain. The trail I took was wet but good. I made better time than most of the others but still came in behind the fastest in the group who had taken the high road. We were so wet that our first goal was getting into dry clothes and getting our gear into the tents. Then, just as it got dark, we got our stoves going and had a great evening all gathered in the bigger of the tents, fixing supper and visiting. Our climbing boots were all soaked so we made the decision to forego climbing Fuya Fuya then next morning. We had a great next morning fishing, just sitting in the sun and talking and then having a worship service together. In the course of the morning over 50 people, probably acclimating for more challenging climbs in Ecuador, started up the nearby trail to summit Fuya Fuya. Maybe another time we'll get to climb it. We met several climbers, some from Israel, Canada, and England. All in all we had a great weekend at the laguna and are already planning our next camping and hiking excursion. It's a toss up at this point. Do we go to Antisana Volcano or to the Illaniza volcanos? You help us decide.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Any avid cacher will discover unique caches along the way. Sometimes I stand back and marvel at the mind of the person who puts these together. I really like a cache that breaks the mold and gives you a challenge and a surprise at the same time. Following along a theme I started last month I'm posting photos and the story of two more unique caches I have found.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
This trip is a week long. I’ve been working six days straight so today I’m enjoying a day off to find a cache. This is no ordinary cache. It is a virtual cache placed in 2002 by some trekkers traveling through the highlands of
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Today I had a good time again. I flew to Lima, Peru on the first day and the first leg of a trip into the department of Ancash in Peru. More on that part of the trip later this week. When I got to Lima and settled into my lodging I met up with a friend. His newly acquired geocaching name is Ted Supe. You'll have to ask him what that all means. We headed out into the Miraflores coastal walk area to find a new cache entitled Pacific Overlook (GC1H172). It had only been five or six days since it was activated. Ted Supe went with me, learning how to navigate with the GPSr and familiarizing himself with the paper print out from www.geocaching.com. He was able to walk right up to the cache with me. From there he went to find another (one of mine) further up the coast. Ted found Surfview (GC1H1CP)amidst some significant muggle traffic going and coming from the surfing area. He successfully found, signed and returned the cache to its hiding place. We came back to log the finds and to get him registered. Ted is preparing to return to his home state of Arkansas. We google-mapped his Arkansas home and found a whole bunch of caches close by. I hope that Arkansas has another confirmed geocacher after today.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Last week I received an email from wizzzzard, a Swiss geocacher with years of experience. He informed us that he was coming to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. We agreed to get together and go geocaching. This morning wizzzzard, aka Urs, arrived on the KLM flight after 18 hours of flying. He gave us a call and we met at the Radisson Royal Hotel. From his hotel we headed to the Metropolitan Park to look for some geocaches, his first in Latin America. Along with us was sumajhuarmi. We made a curcuit to the following caches: Huicu Crossing, Three Stumps, Hanger, Karen's Caper TB Hotel, Cobblestone Corner, Insight of the Yellow Alien, En Memoria de Geovanni, Log On, and El Descanso. Most of these caches are mine so it was kind of fun tagging along but not giving away the clues. Our friend found all but one, apparently muggled this month. I'll have to replace it. Urs is full of geocaching stories, having many more finds than I do. It was good to hear about geocaching in Switzerland and other European countries. We had a small gift for wizzzzard and his wife. He had several gifts for us. He gave us our first geocoin. We are now the proud owners of a Swiss Geocoin! See the photos. We grabbed a quick meal at the snack shack near the parking lot at the park; then we headed back to take wizzzzard to his hotel. He has to be tired now! It was a great day and we really had a great time with wizzzzard! I hope he'll come back to Ecuador!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
This weekend I had the opportunity to go after an earthcache. If you haven't heard of such let me explain. An earthcache is a type of virtual cache. You don't actually find a container. Instead you learn important information about the earth and by completing a few tasks you prove that you really visited the location. I've visited Cuicocha many times. I even have a traditional cache (one with a container, logbook and swag in it known as Sea Breeze - (GC1DD42) along the highest point on the trail. Since placing my cache an earthcache was put out by a fellow cacher from Germany. The tasks were to hike the trail, take pictures, and gather some specific information after taking the boat ride out to the islands in the crater lake. It was fun! I actually went to Cuicocha with a group of fellow missionaries, some from other countries. Four of us went on the boat ride while the remaining 12 went on the hike. One of my friends, also a geocacher, took off to look for the Sea Breeze cache. He only had a two hour window to do this in so he pushed ahead alone. Sumajhuarmi and I decided to climb the trail to the cache when he didn't show later. We were a little concerned for him since the trail is along the crater edge and hiking alone can be dangerous. The incentive to find him caused us to push hard. We hiked it fast. When we were about 30 minutes from the cache we saw him walking down a road on the outside of the crater. We pushed on to the cache and sumajhuarmi made her find. After signing the log we took off down the road. Sumajhuarmi is a runner and I'm not. In order to get to the car quicker and since it was down hill we took off running. She was soon out of sight leaving me in her dust. Our friend made it to the car and came back up the trail to get us. We had a great day on the mountain! If you are coming to Ecuador be sure to look for the caches at Cuicocha (Earthcache -GC1EHA5).
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I arrived in Lima, Peru this afternoon for several days. This afternoon I met up with a new cacher, Low_rider73, and we went to visit two urban caches in the Miraflores area of Lima. The first was the newest Lima cache entitled, TOP 10 POI Lima (GC1EY5P). This referred to the top ten points of interest for tourist in Lima. It required that you either travel all over the city or, as a minimum, get on the Internet and research the city. You had to match ten photos of key locations with the correct location name and then assign the value of the associated picture number to an equation in order to find the coordinates of the cache. Several cachers had found this one ahead of us. The one before us reported that the cache had been muggled. Another TB lost! The cache owner gave everyone permission to log the cache if they included a photo of the general cache location. Low_rider, sumajhuarmi and I all tried to find the correct coordinates but kept coming up with the wrong ones. The cache owner published a spoiler picture showing a special and easily identifiable piece of heavy equipment in a park. It was easy to find out which park we were looking for with Internet. We went there in order to complete the requirements for finding the cache. We still are scratching our heads about the equation and the coordinates. It was fun nontheless. A park historian told us the park is dedicated to Peruvians who defended Lima against the invading Chileans in the 1880's on the very spot.