Sunday, January 29, 2012
This is a story has a good side and a bad side. The good side is the adventure, the view and the fun of the hike. The bad side is that my attempt to place an earthcache in this location met with so much red tape that I simple gave up on it. Maybe someone else will locate an earthcache or a traditional cache here in the future. One of the spectacular views around Quito is that of the Pululahua Volcano. This is an extinct volcano located about 6 miles north of Quito. It is just on the north side of the equator and very near the equator monument and tourism area known as Mitad del Mundo. Pululahua is now the home of farmers for centuries. Some sources say this is the only inhabited volcano crater in the world. Most of the crater walls have worn down but the lava dome is still intact and observable. If you are going to visit Pululahua and hope to see the crater be sure to go in the morning. The moist Pacific coastal breezes blow in around noon and with them come clouds. As you stand on the rim of the volcano you can see the clouds blowing right up in your face. It will block your view of the crater. It rarely rains in the caldera. The crops that grow there are dependent on the fog that rolls in everyday about noon. Once the fog rolls in from the west it will block your view of the valley below. By the way, the name for fog in Quichua is “fuyu” or a slightly modified “puyu” or” puyo”. The remainder of the name seems to come from Spanish “agua” = “water”. It is likely that the name means “cloud of water”, which is a perfect description of the place soon after noon almost every day. There are a variety of plants that grow in the walls of the crater and in the cloud forest of the lava dome. For this reason the Ecuadorian government has declared this a geo-botanical reserve since 1966. At present there is no cost to park and visit at the overlook. There are Quichua people selling souvenirs there too. Since I failed to make a go of it I challenge the reader to place an earthcache here!
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Along with the entrance fees for the Sacsayhuaman tour in Cusco you get the opportunity to visit some other sites. One of them is Quenqo, a labyrinth sight with channels of water. Some believe that the Inca built this sight as some kind of oracle. By sacrificing animals and watching which way the blood and water flowed they divined answers to their questions. Be sure to check out the geocache there. Quenqo Chico (GC34J5A) is just down the hill from Quenqo Grande and is a elongated mount of rock and dirt where few people seem to venture. They are all focused on the principle site above. You can follow the trail down and make a quick find. On the day we were there we broke away from the tour to venture down to the ancient site and visit the cache. We were several families with kids. The kids enjoyed running around the area. Check out the beautiful stand of eucalyptus trees bordering the site.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
My grandson and I had a great time caching on a sunny winter afternoon in the North Carolina piedmont. We drove 20 minutes to Triad Park on Highway 421 near Colfax, NC and parked the car near the main gate. We could have driven around to parking within several hundred feet of the caches but we needed the exercise. Our first cache took us to an abandoned hawk's nest. The cache itself, Hawks Nest (GC299JB) was not in the same tree but you could easily see the hawk's nest from the GZ area. We then hiked through the woods and into a large open field. We hiked across the field to a barbed wire fence defining the limits of the park. There we found Ghillie Cache - Operation: Evergreen Fence (GC244JN). I'm thankful for my grandson's eyes as I totally missed this one. From this location we were off on an azimuth that would lead us to our next cache. About half way along a .4 mile hike to the next cache my grandson shouted that he'd found the cache. He thought I was walking past it to give him the chance to find it. It turns out that he had found the final stage of a multi-cache. We signed the log and traded some items before replacing the cache. We later found out that it was a premium member-only cache so we couldn't log it. We continued on to find another great woodland cache followed by a multi-cache. The multi-cache involved a pair of boots located at different ends of the park. By the time we were through with the final stage of the multi the sun was going down and the weather was quite nippy. We did stop in at the rock climbing site so MasterYoda1 could demonstrate his climbing skills. He was ready to head home after a stop at the local corner store for a treat. Caching with my grandson is one of my favorite ways to spend time with him!
Sunday, January 8, 2012
I could be a geocaching tour guide if such a thing existed. I really enjoy getting to meet fellow cachers as they come through Ecuador. I received an email from Glenn Weaver, a geocacher from Philadelphia, PA. He asked if we could meet up and go caching when he came through Ecuador. We met up on Sunday afternoon and traveled from his hotel in Old Quito to the Metropolitan Park. We made a circuit hitting a number of the caches in the park. Glenn dropped a TB while finding a number of caches. He also placed a cache, Support Power (GC2ZCN3). I'm eager to get back out and find it! Probably the highlight of the day was Glenn's first ever FTF! He found Oh Canada, EH (GC2PBAK), a cache placed by Doogerd on his recent trip to Ecuador. The afternoon gave us a chance to become friends. For me one of the highlights of geocaching is the friendships that I get to make along the way. I wish Glenn safe travels as he travels the world!
Sunday, January 1, 2012
This year we are super blessed to be back in the good ole USA with family and friends! We have been traveling about promoting our new geocaching-tourism venture (more on that later in 2012). For now, we are enjoying the time at home. One of my favorite songs is Kenny Loggins' "Celebrate Me Home" and it speaks to where we are right now. One of the local cachers has started a tradition that I like. This is the second year he's played the Dirty Santa game with the geocaching community in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Thanks to RhettButler2 and Scarlett for putting out Dirty Santa 2011 (GC38QY7) in the woods just around the corner from my daughter's home. Along with my grandson, MasterYoda1, I made the trip a short way into the woods to find a giant blue package all decked out with a bow. Inside were many gifts. According to the cache description some were gag gifts. The instructions were to avoid cherry picking but to just reach inside the bag and come up with the wrapped gift that you are going to open. We took our turns at it and got our gifts. Our gifts were not gag gifts. I got a nice pare of work gloves and my grandson got a nice picture frame with the photo of the cache owner. Hats off to RhettButler2 and Scarlett for their generosity!