Sunday, October 30, 2011
There is currently only one nano geocache located in the historic or colonial part of Quito. It is at the bascilica, the first photo in the group. If you are coming to this part of town be sure and visit the Bascilica del Voto Nacional and take the tour. You get to climb the 300 plus steps to the center and rear spire and get a great view of the city from above. This cathedral has a religious and political motivation. The chapels off to the sides of the main sanctuary are dedicated and named after the provinces. There is a burial section you can visit for the presidents of the country. Only four are buried there at present. While there be sure and look for UIO Basilica (GC1CVMW). You don't have to pay to find it as it is located outside the building. I'm not sure that you can look for it after regular business hours as the gate may close. Recently I had the opportunity to visit a number of the churches in the old city. Part of my goal was to get to know the culture a little better. Part of my goal was to hide a micro cache. I had a great time visiting the churches but I came away convinced that until I get a nano sized cache to hide, this will be near impossible in this part of town. Sorry for that! We highly recommend that you visit the following churches, all within walking distance of one another. Visit the Santo Domingo Church (started by the Dominicans). Also check out the San Francisco Church and monastery (started by the Franciscans). We found the Primada Church to be a good tour. It is right on the main government plaza and houses the remains of two presidents. Probably the most famous being Mariscal Sucre, the liberator of Ecuador. Be sure to visit the Compania de Jesus Church (found by the Jesuits). Another worthwhile visit is the San Augustine Church (founded by the Augustinians). Finally, we visited and recommend the La Merced Church. Why so many different Catholic Churches in such a small area? The answer is that there are many Catholic orders and they seemed to all want to have their own church and convent and to have the most ornate presentation. By far the most gold covered and costly church was that of the Jesuits. If you are a runner you might like to run in the 10 Kilometer night race that goes by all the major historic Catholic church buildings in Quito.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
A while back we had the opportunity to travel into northeastern North Carolina and visit several churches, one which I pastored years ago. We had a great time staying with some friends and speaking in their church about our work in Ecuador. They had never heard of geocaching so I showed them. Not too far from their church is a virtual called The Senator's Grave (GCH16M). To all who read this I have to say that I can't tell the story without a little spoiler. Be warned if you are planning to look for this cache. This particular Senator (the town where I was a pastor is named in his honor) requested that everyone who came by would place a stone on his grave. Today there is a pile. Thomas Jefferson had some nice words for him that are on a nearby plaque.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
We landed in Cusco and were picked up by the Hotel Ruinas van. After a quick check-in to a nice room we were off to find Rumiwasi (GC2K6ZB) . It was an overcast day about 60 degrees F. The cache instructions gave us two options for getting out to San Sabastian, one was taxi and the other by bus. We walked down the hill and found the bus. If you go by bus be ready to stand up since the bus is often full. We got out at the large obelisk with a condor on the top. From there we tracked to the waypoint marking the beginning of a trail up the mountain. We have been living at sea level for a number of months so we could feel the lack of oxygen as we climbed. The climb took us through developing communities. On a Sunday afternoon we mostly saw dogs outside and very few muggles. The ruins of Rumiwasi are great. They are off the beaten path so there are no entrance fees and no tourist enterprise. When we got to GZ we admired the Inca construction by taking a bunch of photos. The cache was hidden just as advertised. We found it, signed the log and replaced the cache before heading down the mountain. What a view of the city of Cuzco and the airport where we landed earlier in the afternoon. Now that I'm back on line I want to do a little research to learn more about Rumiwasi. These were such fascinating ruins to be of little value to the tourism industry! I hope you'll check out Rumiwasi when you come to Cusco. It will be worth the climb!
Sunday, October 9, 2011
In February 2009 I had the opportunity to climb part of Illaniza Norte. That was an exciting trip. I really gained an appreciation for the difference it makes to acclimatize to the elevation. We spent the night at the hut in the saddle between the two mountain peaks. The next morning we continued up Illaniza Norte until we reach the point that it became rather technical, then we turned back. The views were spectacular. The day before as we started our climb up I hid a geocache, Illaniza, La Virgencita (GC1N83W). At that point I did not think that this would be a long time being found. There are a number of climbers that are geocachers so I figured within a couple of months this would be found. It took 23 months for autobus to make the FTF. Even then autobus waited about 9 months to post his find. I just received the notice the first week of October 2011! Prior to this one cacher lamented the muggle climbers he accompanied to the summit because they wouldn't allow him the time to hunt for the cache on the way down even though his GPSr put him within 20 feet of the cache. That has to be frustrating! I'm glad that the cache has been found and hope that many others who set out to climb these gorgeous mountain peaks will take the time to look for this small treasure. It's not the treasure as much as the mountain that makes this an experience worth having. Enjoy the mountain!
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Want some biking adventure in a beautiful area. Try the Route of the Hiawatha Bike Trail. It starts just off Interstate 90 just across the state line in Montana. It is all downhill from that end. What do you get? A beautiful ride through the pine covered mountains along an old railroad prepared for biking. Along the way you'll go through seven tunnels and seven high trestle bridges. I wish I'd known about geocaching when I did this ride. I suspect there might be some caches along the way. Panhandle Idaho is simply gorgeous!