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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Huaca Huallamarca - Ichma Culture

It was a nice sunny day when we left our hotel in another part of Lima to visit the Huallamarca pyramid ruins in the San Isidro section of Lima. What an amazing thing to see. In the middle of a modern residential community sits a centuries-old adobe pyramid made by tribal people that predate the Inca. The contrast of modern and ancient is striking and pleasant. We took a bus from our part of town and got off on Avenue Javier Prado just a few blocks from the ruinas, called a "huaca". The entrance fee was only about the equivalent of $1.50 US. This gets you the guided tour of the pyramid, which included walking up the long ramp to the top and going into the museum. It was well worth the investment of time and money. It took years for the Lima culture, the tribe living in this area at the beginning of the Christian era, to build this adobe structure. As new cultures rose the site begin to take on different roles. It went from a place of worship to a place of burial several times. Be sure to visit the geocache by the same name. Huallamarca (GC249K8) is located just outside the grounds of the site. You don't have to pay an entrance fee to find the cache. Due to its location in an upscale residential community I recommend visiting during daylight hours. Be sure to check out the other Lima caches while you are here. Stealth is a must as most Peruvians have no idea what geocaching is!



Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Route of the Waterfalls - Ecuador




The Pastaza River makes its way down from high in the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains into the Amazon Basin. As it descends below Ba├▒os it and its tributaries create some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country. Along with my good friend jimnet2005 I have placed a few caches in the area. Be sure to visit them. Along the way you'll see some spectacularly beautiful country! You are in the gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazonian jungle. As you descend the temperatures will start to rise and you'll know you are in the jungle. The fauna changes. The animals you see are different. The way the people dress changes. You'll be amazed at how in such a short drive as you pass through numerous tunnels Andean mountain beauty cedes to another kind of beauty. Come and enjoy!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Some interesting North Carolina Piedmont caches
















SPOILER ALERT FOR PIEDMONT NORTH CAROLINA - I had fun on several recent cache hunts in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Here's to highlighting a few interesting and enjoyable caches. On a hot, sunny afternoon I set out to go caching with my grandson. His mom called me to say that they were running late coming back from church and could I come a half hour later than planned. I was too eager to find some caches and I was ready so I started driving to their house but planned to stop off for one along the way. This was Another Dam Cache (GC2F57F) and it was reputed to be a difficult one. One cacher indicated that one of the caches he found served to help him find this one. Great! The cache he referred to was still on my DNF list after several tries. With 30 minutes to give it I pulled in and started tracking to the GZ. Loggers encouraged you to trust the coordinates even though they take you to an open, mowed field. Where in the world would this cache be hidden in a field with no trees, no rocks, no nothing but grass cut down to the ground? I set my swag bag down at what averaged out as ground zero on several approaches and started to go over the ground foot by foot working my way outward from my bag. I wasn't too far out when I saw what looked like a coke bottle cap stuck in the mud. I bent down to pick it up to throw it away at the parking lot trash can. Eureka! The cache!















I talked my daughter into coming with me on one cache run. We headed out near the airport to pick up a few. Most were easy park and grabs because I knew she wasn't going to go for any woods caches. One of our favorites that caused us to pause for several photo shots was Bull Market (GC1XVNZ). When I do a downtown --very urban-- cache run I prefer to do it on bike. Finding parking is often difficult with a car or truck so this works better for me. I had a great time biking through downtown High Point to pick up a few urban micros. One was Ole - A tribute to John Coltrane (GC131H4). I know those stopped at the stoplight in their air conditioned cars thought the crazy biker had gotten to much sun as I looked high and low for this one. One that I had found previously but was along the same route was Dirty Drawers (GCXDYY). High Point, the furniture capitol of the world, has several slightly over sized pieces of furniture on display. This cache is looked nearby.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

El Puente de los Suspiros - Barranco, Lima






If you are touring Lima, Peru, be sure to make the short trip out to Barranco, a part of the greater city of Lima located along the coast. It is famous as the part of town where many artists have made their home. Today the area is populated with homes, restaurants and a nice beach at the base of the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A trip to Barranco at night will give you the opportunity to see many old houses and restaurants with all their beautiful lights. For geocachers the highlight might be the micro hidden somewhere around the "Bridge of Sighs", or as it is known in Spanish, Puente de los Suspiros (GC2ZQG8). Along with sumajhuarmi we started out around Avenida Javier Prado and the Via Expresa. From there we took the Metro bus, which travels down the express way, passing under the intersections and avoiding stoplights. We got off at Plaza Flores, which is the end of the line for this bus/trolley. I got out my GPSr and found that we were .97 miles from the cache. Off we went walking down a residential street headed towards Barranco. Slowly the architecture started to change as we headed further south. It went from modern construction to old houses built in the 1800's. Another thing that caught our eye was that some of the houses are painted in different bright colors. This is particularly nice given the fact that Lima is cloud covered for months at a time. The color adds some life to the street! Within about 1/5 of a mile of the cache we spotted a park down a street to the right so we headed towards it. There it was! A wooden bridge spanning a ravine that descends towards the ocean. The bridge connects a small plaza area and an outdoor staircase between two restaurants with a street and a beautiful yellow Catholic Church building on the other side of the ravine. There were tourist there with their guide. He was explaining the history of the bridge. According to him and the legend he was drawing from a rich man's daughter fell in love with a poor young man. He father would not allow her to marry him. As the story goes she sat at her window overlooking the bridge watching for her love each day. She did so for many years. The bridge became known as the "bridge of sighs". Did it really happen? Who knows. It's a nice bridge in a beautiful part of town. Underneath the bridge a small road descents towards the coast. It is lined with homes and restaurants. Many of the restaurants have balconies where you can eat your meal and watch the people pass by. At the bottom of the ravine a set of steps will take you all the way to the beach. While standing around listening to the guide and scanning the area the cache hint told us to consider sumajhuarmi announced to me that she saw it. We waited just a few minutes to when no one was watching to retrieve the cache. We sat in the little park below the bridge to sign the log sheet. It took a little longer to hide the cache again as a new group of tourist were on the bridge. We had a great time in Barranco. Be sure to come visit and don't forget to visit the bridge and the cache.