Sunday, November 28, 2010
On 21 November 2010 Quito hosted the sixth annual Half Marathon. The 21 kilometer race began at the Plaza de Toros (Bull Ring) on the north side of Quito and followed a route past the airport, through Cotocollao, past the El Condado Mall, and out the highway that takes you to the Equator Monument at Mitad del Mundo. The race began a little after 6 a.m. under overcast skies but with no rain. My wife, sumajhuarmi, ran the race today. I'm proud of her! This was the longest race she's done and she did well. I drove out along the route, stopping a couple of times to park and cheer her own as she came by. Over 3000 people ran today. When I arrived at Mitad del Mundo I walked about 500 feet from the finish line in order to hide Quito 21 kilometer HALF MARATHON (GC2JK08). There was lots of trash along the road and at this point, lots of muggle race-watchers. I finally found a place in front of the Dios es Fiel church. I sat down and watched the runners go by and waited for sumajhuarmi to show. I waited about half an hour. During that time I was able to hide the cache gently and unobserved, even with all the people around me. Finally I saw her coming up the hill. You see most of the race was on a downhill grade but the last two kilometers was up hill. She was beat. I must have looked funny running along beside her in jeans and carrying my thermos but I didn't it with her to the finish line. She crossed the line with a time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and five seconds. Not bad for her category. Again, I'm proud of her and this cache is to commemorate her race!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
One of the biggest pleasures of geocaching is found in the friends you make along the way. Over the past several months I started seeing a new geocacher appear in the logs here in Ecuador. Soon this new geocacher was also hiding some pretty good caches too. On a recent trip into the southern part of the country I was able to pick up a few of jimnet2005's caches. As a result we struck up an Internet conversation through geocaching.com. Today we met for the first time at Parque Metropolitano and were able to visit some caches together. What a pleasure to get to know Jaime and Maria Belen, from Riobamba, Ecuador! They only have a few geocaches under their belts due to the low geocache density here but they have in just eight months quickly risen to become the geocachers with the second highest number of geocache hides in Ecuador! Thanks for the caches jimnet2005!!!! This is what I've been praying for! Jaime, Maria Belen and I met at the outdoor food court in the park. From there we started a swing through the southern end of the park. They had attempted the northern end of the park but found that a number of the caches there were either missing or simply too hard to find. They found eight caches today and we became good friends in the process. One of our near term goals is to host a geocaching event soon in hopes of getting some of the small caching community together. I'm also eager to visit the high jungle near Puyo and find some more of their caches. They have some caches along some trails to some spectacular waterfalls. I know my wife will like these. Thanks for a great day jimnet2005!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
It gets cold at 13,000 feet above sea level when the clouds cover the sun and it rains! Thanks to geocacher museion there is an earthcache in the park. It was starting to rain in Cuenca when Al and I left for the 30 minute drive up the mountain. Cuenca is at 8,500 feet above sea level and GZ is at 13,000 feet above sea level. Cajas National Park is along the highway that runs from Cuenca to the coastal city of Guayaquil. It is at the highest point where you cross the continental divide. Through traffic is given about 20 minutes to travel through without having to pay the park entrance fee. If you hold an Ecuadorian residency and can prove it with an ID card, the cost to stay in the park is $1.50 at this writing. If you are a foreign visitor it is $10.00. We paid $3.00 and went to the welcome center. We quickly completed the assignments in order to get credit for Cajas National Park (GC1EZDD) and then headed for the warmth of the small restaurant with a great view of the lake. While there the sun broke through turning the paramo into a beautiful place. There are lots of trails that you can hike, almost all ranging between 11,000 and 14,000 feet above sea level. The most interesting one to me is the old Inca Trail running from Cuenca to the coast. It takes two days to cover the distance of the trail within the park, only about 19 kilometers.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I like a little history with my geocaches. This one provides it. We recently took a trip from Quito, Ecuador south to Cuenca. The drive along the Panamerican Highway has really improved over the last 13 years. I remember when it was some of the roughest roads in the country. Today it is well paved for the most part. Along the way we planned to visit the Terremoto 1797 Reloaded (GC26M6K) cache. As we began our bypass of the city of Riobamba we turned on the GPSr. Upon arrival at the city of Cajabamba we left the main highway. The needle clearly indicated that the cache was on top of Cerro Cushca, a hill overlooking that city. We weaved our way through the city and followed what proved to be the most logical path for our 4WD. This took us through another small town and eventually to the top of the mountain. Thanks to a dirt road cut out by the local telecommunications company we were able to reach the top. The hill is the site of some pretty significant antennas. From the top we had a wonderful view of the whole valley all the way out to Colta Lake. From where we parked it was only 140 feet to the cache. We walked down hill and found the cache easily. Once we finished signing the log and getting a few photos, we returned to the top of the mountain to have a picnic lunch and enjoy the view. The cache page tells the story of how in 1797 an earthquake destroyed the original city of Riobamba, located below where today stands the city of Cajabamba. You can still see some of the landslide that destroyed the old city. Afterwards the survivors moved this city, one of Ecuador's first colonial cities, to its present location further northeast. We thought the stop signs in both Spanish and Quichua were interesting. Lake Colta is also an interesting place in the history of evangelical missions in Ecuador. Over one hundred years ago two brave single female missionaries, Julia Anderson and Ella Ozman, left the safety of the coastal city of Guayaquil to become the first evangelical missionaries among the Quichua of Chimborazo. Ella died of pneumonia within days of their arrival and Julia continued on for nearly five decades. She lived and worked in the area around Lake Colta. Today there is a large evangelical movement among the Quichua of this area. Check out the following article from Christianity Today in order to learn more. Visit this cache to get the full outdoor adventure!