Earthcaches

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Unmaintained caches .... sometimes the better of two evils

Ecuador doesn't have much geocaching going on. At least not compared to the movement that takes place in North America and Europe. There are a few cachers there but the majority of
Metro Park SE
caching done there is by tourist visiting the country. While there one of my favorite activities was placing tourist-friendly caches. By this I mean caches that are easily accessible to tourist who have a limited amount of time to get to a cache between one of their tours and going to the airport to head to the Galapagos Islands or on to Peru.

The best place I found to place geocaches that tourist could easily find was in Parque Metropolitano. We placed the second one in the park but the longest standing cache there to date back in 2007. It is Metro Park SE (GC15JCC). This cache has proven difficult for many for many because it is well-hidden and because, if you don't have much time, like many tourist, it is a good walk to the far end of the park and takes some time. The elevation doesn't help as you huff and puff to get there in the thin air.

Reforestation
The next long-lasting cache I placed is one called Reforestation (GC168M3). When I placed it the area was cut back and had just a few bushes in ankle high grass. Dispersed throughout the area were small saplings that were recently planted to replace Eucalyptus trees that had previously been cut down. Now, as you can see from the photo, it's a jungle out there.

Karen's Caper Travel Bug Hotel (GC182AC) and Brandon's TB Boarding House (GC1K4MD) are two of the tourist-friendliest TB hotel caches in the country. They are both placed very near the entrance to the park so that the tourist can get out of their taxi right at the entrance gate and make a short one-minute trek into the woods to claim their prize, drop
Looking up while at Karen's Caper
their trackables and still get back to what they have waiting for them.

What makes these, plus a number of others we have placed, so special to us is that we no longer live in Ecuador but have been able to leave a gifts that keep on giving. The choice that obviously faced us upon departing from Ecuador was whether to archive these caches or simply leave them for folks to find and then archive them when they finally play out. With no one to call on to maintain them (there were no active geocachers nearby who were able to maintain them) we knew that they would deteriorate over time. We left them. They have proven to be gifts that have truly kept on giving, both to those who come to Ecuador and geocache as well as to me. I have been joyfully watching the messages come in as tourist and a few Ecuadorians alike, have continued to find them. We've had some go missing, requiring that we archive them.

It's been almost three years since we left our beloved Ecuador behind. We feel just a little bit closer to our home-away-from-home when we revisit the caches there on geocaching.com!
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