Sunday, August 7, 2011
Cayambe Volcano in the Clouds
Cayambe Volcano is located in northern Ecuador just along the equatorial line. While I've been up to the refuge on the mountain several times, I've only hidden a cache lower down the mountain. Recently I went up with my daughter and her family I decided to put one near the refuge. We drove out of Quito for an hour to get to the rural town of Cayambe, named for the nearby volcano. We followed the "Nevado Cayambe" road signs which got us through the town. Once on the right cobblestone road we continued the climb. There is one fork in the road where you have to go right to get to the volcano. Unfortunately it isn't marked. I wish I'd thought to make it a waypoint for cachers but I forgot it at the time. If you stay on the cobblestoned road and don't take the dirt road forking off to the right, you drive several miles until you get to a dead end at a large gorge. Then you will backtrack. Continuing on the correct road we climbed up to small town of Piedmonte where you start the ascent towards the volcano by turning left. The road was rough there. Without 4X4 the way would be too much. At about 13,000 feet above sea level we were enveloped by the clouds. The terrain was very different and the fauna in this treeless area was unique. We made it to the refuge where we spent the majority of our time outside. Had it been a clear day the view would have been spectacular. We were clouded in completely. I hid Cayambe Volcano Refuge (GC2PVPN) not far from the refuge. It was so cloudy that I'm not sure that on a clear day you could see the location or not. In Ecuador when you buy vegetables at the market they often give you the "yapa", the extra potato or extra carrot. This cache is the "yapa". The real prize is the mountain itself, and getting there.