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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nevado Cayambe Cache

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.
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