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Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Devil's Cauldron Cache






SPOILER ALERT FOR ECUADOR - I had been encouraged to go after this cache because of the beauty of this place. So on a recent trip to Shell, Ecuador I made it a point to stop off for this cache. When we got to ground zero I was convinced that the cache owner had created an offset cache or that he had given us the general location of the center of town. In the cache description it told about the need to walk 20 minutes to get to the waterfall and that the cache was located behind the waterfall. From this information I was certain that we needed to head down to the waterfall. We asked directions and ended up going to the upper end of the waterfall. A fellow tracked us down and charged us $1 US each. Turns out that there wasn't much to his little park and observation point. We found out that we needed to go around to the east and climb down to the based of the waterfall. Off we went. The climb down is easy along a well prepared path. At the base of the waterfall is a nice restaurant, a hanging bridge giving a good view of the waterfall from a distance and then four platforms giving an up close view of the waterfall. The man who sold us our tickets charged us $1 but told us that there was a tunnel that required one to crawl on hands and knees that would get you to the back of the waterfall. The hint on the cache said it was magnetic and that you should look behind PAILON DEL DIABLO and that you didn't have to get wet. I crawled through the tight space and up to the opening behind the waterfall. I began checking all the metal railings, posts and bolts but no nano cache! The upper platform was being pelted with water from the falls. I withdrew to check the hint again and was convinced that I needed to go back. By the time I finished I was completely soaked. Still no cache. By the time I gave up and returned to the observation platform and my wife we had decided that this was one of those DNFs that affords a spectacular view making it worth the effort. Cache or no cache this was a great hike and a great waterfall! We climbed back out the trail and headed to the nearby town of Baños and our hotel. Along the way we got to talking and began to realize our mistake. How could I have missed it! The coordinates were correct and it wasn't necessary to go behind the actual waterfall, I was to look behind a sign with the name of the waterfall located up in the town! We spent the night in Baños seeing the sights and enjoying a visit with our daughter, her husband, their baby and her father-in-law. The next day after breakfast while the others hit the hot tub sumajhuarmi and I went back to Rio Verde to look for Rutas de las Cascadas: Rio Verde, Devil's Cauldron (GC2MW20). We parked and walked to ground zero in a small city park, found the small sign with the words PAILON DEL DIABLO and looked behind it. It was near impossible to look without attracting attention from muggles. No nano cache! Now it was time for me to phone a friend, in this case the cache owner. Unfortunately he confirmed that we were in the right place. It appeared that the cache had been muggled. Probably two months ago when the first finder found it he attracted attention and then someone came, found and took the nano. Thankfully jinmet2005 allowed me to claim this as a find. So, I completely fell for the clever trick jimnet2005 pulled. I should have known better. Yet had I just settled for the cache find and not gone to the waterfall I'd have missed out on the genuine experience that made it worthwhile. I highly recommend this cache -- since I know jimnet2005 will replace it soon -- and a visit to the genuine Devil's Cauldron cache.

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