Sunday, September 26, 2010
During our North Carolina vacation I was astonished to find that 90% of the caches that indicated in the inventory that there was at least one travel bug present had none! Where have all the travel bugs gone? Are they being held by geocachers who wait extended periods to log them? Are they being stolen by anti-geocaching nuts? There are a few of them out there. The last two summers that I was in the North Carolina it seemed much different. The inventories were pretty accurate. Now they aren't. I've checked back numerous times on several of the TB Hotels I've visited and found that the inventory indicates they are full but the TBs aren't there. Usually I've been able to take back to Ecuador a good number of TBs and coins that have as a goal to travel the world. This time in a month of caching I've only gotten two to take with me and place in one of two TB Hotels in Quito that serve as a great launching point to Europe or back to the US.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
In a previous blog I told about my climb up Sincholagua Volcano and how I hid a cache at the base of the volcano. Finally after 22 months a tourist from Germany has logged an FTF on Eleven Good Years (GC1FV2N). I noticed where MTMAN2 from Ohio had marveled in a note in the on-line cache log that this cache was still undiscovered after many months. I suspect that no cachers had ventured into this remote corner of the Cotopaxi Volcano Reserve. Boy have folks been missing out on some beautiful country. The lava plains below the mighty and impressive Cotopaxi volcano give you a feeling that you are in a lonely place; and you are! We had a great climb, beautiful views, and a perfect campground beside a brook. If you are a first to find hound, come on down to Ecuador for your opportunity. I have three caches that have been out for a long time and are waiting to be found. Casitagua (GC1G9RD) is going on 23 months in its lonely mountain top hiding place; Ilaniza, La Virgencita (GC1N83W) reaching for 18 months at the base of that volcano without a finder and Xtreme Training (GC26FFZ) relatively new on the block with four months along a major road going through the Ecuadorian rain forest and no takers.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I've been looking at this place for 13 years. I was amazed by it even before I ever heard of geocaching. Recently I got the idea to create an earthcache at this location. I finally did it! We took our daughter to visit one of her favorite places. We went to the Indian Market in Otavalo. While there she got to barter for the things she bought. She loves doing this and is very good at it. We also ate at her favorite place, The Pie Shop. This is a shop that has every flavor of pie you can think of. For $1 you can have a huge slice. Add 50 cents to get a scoop of ice cream. It is good. On our way back from a visit to the Indian market in Otavalo we pulled off on an overlook viewing a dry gulley that divides the eastern side from the western side of the central valley near Tabacundo. From this overlook one can see the earthcache location.
For those that aren't familiar with earthcaches, these are locations that are of geological significance. One must arrive at the prescribed coordinates, see the geological feature, from the cache page and sometimes from the location learn about the particular geological feature and prove that you were there by performing some calculation or analysis related to the earthcache.
As we approached the overlook from the north we had to use caution getting off the road and into the overlook parking. The overlook is in a curve in the highway and Ecuadorian drivers fly around the curve, some even passing others while in the curve around the mountain. Once we parked we gazed out into the dry valley before us. The valley leads to the east and points towards the Cayambe volcano. This particular day we couldn't see more than a little bit of snow for the clouds that covered her. At the coordinates the geocacher is standing next to a cross placed in memory of Freddy Sadvedra, a victim of an automobile accident at this spot. I don't know for sure but in all likelihood this man may have run off the road and over the cliff. The date on the cross was April 25, 2009. From this location we could look to the south and see the geological fold in the earth's sedimentary strata. I admit that this will be something of a spoiler. That's alright. To get credit for the cache find the geocacher has to locate and see the fold, identify what type of fold this is, identify the major terrain feature at a bearing of 90 degrees from there and then, if willing, post a photograph of himself and his GPSr but not with the fold in the background. Cochasqui Fold (GC2DHJA) is sure to be a fun cache.
Earthcache.org seems to be pretty strict on only allowing caches where there is proof that the hider has the permission of the land manager. They were requiring a copy of the written permission. In this case it is a public overlook parking so I don't think it will be a problem. At any rate I submitted the cache and a week later it was approved and is up. Happy Earthcaching!
Congratulations to FreeCuba for the FTF. Love the family picture!
Sunday, September 5, 2010
This was one of those rare crystal clear days with hardly a hint of clouds in the sky. I had planned to go find and hide a cache so I was pleased at the great vistas of all three volcanoes that you can see from certain vantage points in Quito. I parked my car and tracked to the intended FTF cache find but after 30 minutes of searching I decided that this level-one difficulty hide had been muggled or was much harder than indicated. I plugged in an alternate cache and set out on the .5 mile hike. The trails were beautiful. Just as I crested one ridge I caught a view of Cayambe Volcano. I was glad I had my camera. What a view. A little further down the trail I came to an overlook viewing east into the valley and there in all its majesty was the Antisana Volcano. A little further down the trail as I descended gradually towards the cache I caught a view of the Cotopaxi Volcano. Antisana, unlike the cone shapes of Cayambe and Cotopaxi, is a crater volcano where the top blew off many many years ago. Whereas Cayambe and Cotopaxi are visible once every week or so, Antisana rarely comes out of the clouds. What a view. Soon my GPSr was telling me I was at the location. Just as the cache description said, I had to watch over my left shoulder for muggles that could be taking pictures on a wooden balcony built out over the cliff some 300 feet above me. No one was there when I started the search. I had to climb back into the bushes near the edge of the incline that became the cliff. Suddenly I heard voices from above. Someone was at the overlook. Down in the bushes like I was I knew they couldn't see me so I continued the search. Suddenly something red came into view as I probed the grass. There it was. Vaca Frita (GC24HP6) is part of a series lauding Cuban cuisine. Within the was a recipe for this tangy Cuban dish. I signed the log and crept out of the bushes so as not to attract attention from muggles above. The hike took about 20 minutes on a beautiful trail. I was in search of a place to put in a new cache. Soon I found the right spot, marked the coordinates and dropped a geocoin that I'd brought back from the US. Time to get home. What a beautiful morning in Quito!