Sunday, February 27, 2011
While visiting Cuenca recently I had the chance to invite a non-caching friend out to find one of Ecuador's older caches, Casa Tranquila (GCXC0Q). My friend, Al, had seen me hide a cache the day before in Loja and now was driving me out to this mountain just north of Cuenca. The cache owner indicated in the cache page that cachers should find the cache and then come on in to the house for coffee. We drove up the dirt road until reaching the GZ, parked by the road and followed the needle and the clue to the cache. After signing the log and trading items we went to the house but it was all locked up and looked like no one had been there for a while. We recalled that the previous cacher had mentioned that no one was there. We then drove up to the top of the mountain to get a good view of the valley. We could see north Cuenca, the town of Azogues and Cojitambo mountain directly in front of us. When we got back to Al's house we looked up the profile of the cache owner, a North American who had retired in Ecuador, and found that he had left the country to work in the US some four years earlier. Fortunately the cache was in good shape but we missed being able to visit with him and share that cup of coffee. The city of Cuenca doesn't have any caches yet it is the third largest city in Ecuador. If you are coming to Cuenca you can visit the two closest caches. Casa Tranquila is one and the other is Cajas National Park, about 19 miles northwest of Cuenca.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Every now and then a fellow cacher that we don't know from Adam is coming through Quito and writes us ahead of time in order to get together. We have enjoyed every opportunity to get to know those who come through. Recently I received an email from a gentleman in California telling me his wife was coming through Quito after visiting Loja province in the far south of Ecuador. She wanted to release a travel bug and couldn't find any caches in Loja province. Since caching is still catching on here that is not unheard of. We arranged to meet on Saturday as she came through Quito. As we drove up to the Metropolitan Park overlooking the city of Quito we saw a lady that matched the picture we had received. Sure enough when we asked it was FindJoy. Off we went to find a place to park the truck and then find a cache where she could drop her soon-to-be-released travel bug. We worked our way down the hill to Karen's Caper Travel Bug Hotel (GC182AC) and released her TB. We had a great time getting to know a little about FindJoy. So, in honor of FindJoy and because she was lamenting the absence of any geocaches in Loja Province, my wife and I decided to place a cache near the city of Loja. We hope that FindJoy and her husband can come looking for it someday! Check out FindJoy's Loja Log (GC2FN1N).
Sunday, February 13, 2011
What a great trip! We went to Baños, Ecuador for some fun time. While there we arranged to take a chiva tour (a sort of open-air bus ride with loud music) around the town and then up to the Runtun Overlook. From there the view was spectacular, both of the city and of the Tungurahua volcano. Several times during the day we caught a glimps of Tungurahua as the clouds would break. From the overlook the view is also impressive. I´ve included a few pictures of the volcano from several angles made by others. Their photos are so much better than mine. The tour guide told me that we would be at the cross overlooking the city for about 20 minutes. That didn´t give me much time. It was about 10 p.m. so I left him and the other tourist and headed out with my gpsr and flashlight. I was about 400 feet from the cache when I started out. I started down the trail, one that apparently will take you down to the city below. Soon my gpsr was telling me I was at ground zero. Within a few minutes I had found the large tupperware container that is Cruz de Runtun TB Hotel (GC28NNE). I hurriedly signed the logbook and replaced the cache. I didn´t trade anything as I felt the pressure to be back with the group. I could just see my wife making excuses for the guide to wait for me. I hurried up the hill arriving huffing and puffing. Why the hurry? The tour stayed at least another 45 minutes after I got there. The guide served us hot canela (cinnamon and passion fruit) drink and then we had a bonfire with about 80 people from our tour and others that were congregated there. We had a great time. Whether by day or night, I recommend this tour for the breathtaking view of both Tungurahua volcano and the city of Baños. The flowing lava coming off of Tungurahua is spectacular! By the way, the sign about the 9 p.m. erruption was pretty accurate.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
It's time to get some input from those who check in from time to time to read this blog. If you set out to increase geocaching in a country where geocaching is little known, what would you do to promote it? Could you see geocaching as a means of increasing tourism? If you were approaching municipal leadership about geocaching and tourism, what would you emphasis? Is there a place for geocaching tourism or is geocaching something that geocachers do "as they tour"? I'd really love to hear your thoughts on what could be done with the local authorities and with the local citizenry as I consider how to increase the sport among Ecuadorians.