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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cajas National Park - Ecuador

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.
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