Saturday, April 25, 2009
From the coast to the jungle of Peru in an hour. Thanks to Lan airline it's an easy trip. The jungle humidity sure was a blast in the face as I stepped off the plane. My friend was there to pick me up and within minutes we were at his house. After a good night of rest we got down to business during the morning. During the afternoon we took off to hide a geocache somewhere around Pucallpa, Peru. A healthy number of tourist come through this jungle port town on the Ucayali River. We headed out to the west of town to Yarinacocha, a large lake. Tourist frequent it. Try is I might, there were muggles walking, on motorcycle, sitting, sleeping, sharing a meal everywhere I turned. We headed back into town thinking that maybe the clocktower park on the river front would support a cache. Wow! The muggle density there was five times worse that Yarinacocha. We walked around and looked the port area over but it just wouldn't last the day if planted here. On the way home I asked Marty if they had a local cemetery. That's right, the only place I could think of in this bustling town where there might be a moments peace would be the cemetery. Marty confirmed that he sometimes has gone there to walk and think because there aren't many folks there. Now in a cemetery in the US I might place a simple cache in a respectful place like a tree or bush but not on a grave. In most Latin cemeteries the graves are above ground and every square inch is occupied. There aren't many spaces for a respectable cache in a Latin cemetery. Fortunately as we drove towards the house we saw a wooded area with a sign "Parque Natural de Pucallpa". This was it! A couple of acres of wooded land with nature trails and little signs telling you the names of the different trees. At last Pucallpa has its first geocache. Now how long will it take for someone to find it?
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Early before the rush hour traffic Arnold and I left the Miraflores section of Lima, over near the coast, and drove towards the desert mountains to the east. We passed through old colonial Lima. As we traveled Cierro San Cristobal (Saint Christopher) loomed ever greater against the skyline. Along the base and along the climbing road to the top were the Pueblos Jovenes (developing communities). What's unique about these are the brightly painted multicolored buildings. The blues, yellows, pinks and other colors were a refreshing break from the brownish gray dessert sand that is this part of Lima. We wound our way passed the 12 stations of the cross that mark the way up to the top of the hill. At the top we had a dynamic view of the dusty city of Lima. It was hazy but we could make out the Pacific Ocean to the west in the distance. Why had we come? Two reasons: to see the view and to FTF (first to find) Above Lima (GC1K2A0). We parked at the top and marveled at the view. Following the instructions we back tracked down the mountain about 50 meters to the GC. As described the cache was hidden in a small cave-like crevice. All around were remanents of incense bowls and sacrifices of food and beer. Must be part of the pilgrimage made up the hill at times. After some dusty searching we found it! We FTFed a cache that was placed three days short of three months ago. Yeah, if your counting and your FTF count is too low for you, come to South America to boost it! We had a great morning and saw a part of Lima that most never see. Thank you Gorranata for the cache!
Friday, April 10, 2009
It's always a blessing when family comes to visit. Rick wanted to show his parents what geocaching is so off we went to the biggest concentration of geocaches in Ecuador: Parque Metropolitano overlooking Quito. Rick picked one of the hardest caches in the forrest and put his mother out front to lead the way. She took us right to it and within minutes had the cache in her hand. Way to go Olivia! I've gone with folks who've spent a half hour looking and then given up. While Rick and crew headed out to find another cache I took a detour and found a hiding place for what is to date my favorite cache hide. I just submitted it and have called it the Entry to Mordor. No spoilers here for anyone thinking of coming to Ecuador. Anything I say here you can read on the cache page. I'd never been down this particular trail and soon found that it wound down into a "huicu" (Quichua for a ravine or large gully). At the bottom there is a small creek that flows out of a dense humid highland forrest. The entrance was so beckoning that I had to crouch down and go in. Almost immediately I lost all satellite reception. The place is dark, dank and eerie, reminding me of some of the scenes in the series Lord of the Rings. I continued up the stream as I looked for a good hiding place for a small plastic container. I even had to climb up a place where when it rains hard there would be a small waterfall. Finally I found the right place some 50 meters inside the densely covered ravine. This one is for folks willing to possibly do a little wading in ankle deep water and get a little dirty. Hiding caches is a close second to actually finding them. This was fun. BTW, I met a geocacher recently at a geocaching event who has hidden over 800 caches. That's serious work. Well, this was #35 for me, all in South America.
Monday, April 6, 2009
I made a trip to San Jose, Costa Rica to participate in some training. I had a great time! Add to it that I was able to take a little time to find four caches in and around San Jose and Heredia. I walked out to the Latin American Bible University, a round trip of four miles, and found the first one. The next day I drove out to Heredia and found The Place to Be in 1763 (GC1DVX0). It was hiden in a muggle-intensive area right on the main city park. It was a Saturday afternoon and there wasn't a seat open in the whole park. I worked my way through the Cathedral and out into the church's side park. It gave better access to the cache without being observed as readily by the hundreds of people just on the other side of the fence. From Heredia I tracked up into the hills looking for and finding YWAM Twin A (GC17CAC). The cache is on the property of the mission base of Youth With a Mission (YWAM). This is a beautiful property where young Ecuadorians and North Americans come to be equipped to do ministry in several Central American countries. I stopped in to ask for permission to look for the cache. Just as I expected, the four young men, one North America and the others Costa Ricans, had never heard of geocaching and were somewhat amazed that a person would drive all the way up to where they were to look for a tupperware box. I had them take my GPSr and track to the GC. We found the cache, I logged in and dropped a TB. They all wanted the website so they could learn more about the sport. I had a good time getting to know these guys. From high over Heredia I drove down to the edge of San Jose and fought the Saturday afternoon traffic to get to SJO Layover (GC1EQCP). This one was put in by Reefpilot, an airline pilot who flies into several of our countries. Sure am glad he's placing some caches during his layovers. It was dark when I found the GC and started looking for this nano. There were some night guards at a business directly across the street. I felt rather conspicuous feeling around the fence in the dark with them observing me. I believe that I was able to get the cache, sign the log and replace it without them knowing what was going on. It took a walk around the block to sign the log and then swing back by to replace the nano. This may be my last trip to Costa Rica so it was great to be able to hit a couple more caches!