Friday, July 24, 2009
We touched down in Greensboro, NC on 13 July to begin a six month visit with family and friends. We've enjoyed getting reconnected. During some of that spare time I've been able to get out and geocache. I know that I could increased the number of finds by using my car but, since I'm set on loosing 20 lbs by mid-December, I have decided to combine the hunt with hiking. For the last four days I've hit the trails in western Greensboro. I've thoroughly enjoyed the time in the woods. The smells of summer in the piedmont are great! Each day I've increased my rate of exercise as well as found a number of interesting geocaches. My eight year old grandson went with me one day. He tires out sooner than I do but enjoys the sport. His attention span is less so when the hunt gets complicated he starts asking me if I'm ready to give up well before I'm ready. It is fun to go with him. Had supper tonight with some good friends who saw the scratches on my arms and remembered that I geocache. They want to go so we are set for an outing a week or so away. I'm loving caching in the Guilford College area!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
While our daughter and her husband were visiting we took a trip to Otavalo. This is one of our favorite places in Ecuador. The Otaveleno Quichua are real craftsmen and business people. The heart of the town of Otavalo is the Indian market. It is open everyday but the big day is Saturday. Since it can be very crowded we decided to go on a Friday and not fight the crowds. I thought of hiding a cache in the market but discovered that every square inch of the place is under watchful eyes. It just wouldn't work; at least not until I become a better geocache hider. We had a great day shopping, something this geocacher isn't usually in to. It gave us a chance to use some of our Quichua language. That really helped with the bartering and it got us better prices on most of the souvenirs we bought. Standing in the market I could look to the east and see Cotocachi Volcano where the Cuicocha caches are located. Even nearer is the Mojanda Lake on top of Fuya Fuya Volcano just south of the market where a small cache which has only been found once in its two-year life is hidden. Mojanda affords great views of two crater lakes. Don't leave Otavalo until you've visited the Pie Shop. They have the best pies from almost every flavor you can think of.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
This past week several friends of mine went up Cayambe Volcano as far as the refuge and the ice. I challenged them to look for my cache that is on the way up. It is Nevado Cayambe (GC1DERM), located at 14,300 feet above sea level. To get to Cayambe Volcano you go north out of Quito on the Panamerican Highway to the town of Cayambe. You have to ask directions to "Nevado" Cayambe. Nevado means "snowcapped". The trip up is beautiful, particularly on a clear day. I recommend heading out in the morning as the clouds come in during the early afternoon. I hid the cache about a year ago and it has only had a few visits. While Cayambe is accessible with 4-wheel drive, most tourist don't come this way. The mountain is frequented by climbers, a few of which might be cachers too. The day I drove up with one of my best friends, Donnie Holley from Tampa, Florida, my 4-wheel drive was out. I didn't know it until I got to about 14,200 feet above sea level and found that I couldn't make the incline. This was just at the point where snow-melt was running down the road and making it slippery. Try as much as I did, without 4-wheel I couldn't make it. Just a few hundred feet below that point was a wide area where I could park the car off the road. It was a sort of plateau. I decided to hide the cache near there. We then hiked the rest of the way, another 800 feet in elevation, up the road to the refuge. The day was gorgous and we could see all over northern Ecuador from the refuge. The huffing and puffing to get to 15,000 feet at the refuge was worth it. We got out on the ice, we drank tea and hot chocolate at the refuge and we got some great photos. If you are touring Ecuador I highly suggest the Cayambe Volcano trip. There are tours. Just ask around. Check out my cache too.
Monday, July 6, 2009
My daughter graduated high school and left Quito eight years ago. She's been back several times but not since a lift and major tourist attraction atop Pichincha Volcano went in. She and her husband went up with me today. What a great view of the city! The "Teleferico" (lift) takes you up the mountain and drops you at about 13,000 feet above sea level. Climb it and you'll be huffing and puffing for five hours or more. There are some shops and snack bars up top. The main attractions are the numerous overlooks from which you get some great vistas of the city. There was already a cache up here. I reported on it in my first blog. It is Near the Sky (Cerca del Cielo) (GC12EH4). I thought it was "high" time that there was at least one more geocache up above Quito. I placed Get on your high horse (GC1TTFN) for the enjoyment of touring geocachers. Check out the view!