I am a proud

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Huancane, Peru - Climbing Pocopaca Mountain

                                                                                                                                                                         7 December was a great day! This morning low_rider73, FreeCuba, his kids, Jessica and I went up Pocopaca mountain overlooking the Peruvian town of Huancané. Because my surgery has left me a little weak we took the 4X4 to the top. We topped out at 13,880 feet above sea level. low_rider73 broke off from our group to hide his second cache ever. He has one in Lima where I introduced him to geocaching. Now he is putting one in a rather out-of-the-way place just above Huancané. While he was off on his mission the rest of us went to the top of the mountain. From there we could see Lake Titicaca with its dark blue waters to the east. It is beautiful. We explored the small chapel and the wondered around looking at the tiny rock piles that have been built up into tiny apartments or houses. In May of each year the people of the town make a pilgrimage up this hill to offer libations and burn candles in hope that a combination of the Pacchamama (traditional Aymara/Quechua earth mother diety) and God will bless them with the house of their dreams. The pile of rocks represents what they are asking for. The confusion represented by petitioning the Pacchamama at the same time as they petition God demonstrates the level of syncretism in their religion. We also found the "tunnel of desires". Someone has fashioned a short tunel into which you go and make a wish. Truly this is an interesting place of superstition and beauty. What a view of the city of Huancané from above and the extensive altiplano (high plains) we had. After a good while low_rider73 returned. FreeCuba was on his first caching adventure. He and his seven-year old son took control of the GPSr and with the coordinates entered and the clue took off with the rest of us following close behind. I know that normally a geocache is placed and published before any hunt takes place. Not this time and we didn't mind. Huancané is far off the beaten trail and I actually wonder if anyone else will ever go looking for this cache. It is in the reviewer's hands now. Plus, this was a teachable moment, one that might be critical in converting a muggle to a cacher. Kind of important. So we went looking. FreeCuba and Elijah learned how to do the drunken bumblebee dance, but with caution as they were on a steep hill. Even though my arm was in a sling at the time I wanted to go along when the trail took us down a steep hill. With FreeCuba's help I scrambled down the hill to discover that we needed to go back up. That's right, low_rider73 wasn't giving us many extra clues. Finally with some searching FreeCuba found the small cache. It was fun and FreeCuba and son Elijah are eager to do more geocaching. We had a great time on Pocopaca. We spent the rest of the day together in other activities. Tomorrow we head for Puno, further south along the lake to look for a cache that is along the beaten path of tourist. It is called Fertile Puno (GC1ACE4)
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