Our guide, Venacio, a member of the Navaho Nation informed that the people who inhabited the Mesa for 800 years didn’t “disappear” – they moved! “Why”, we wondered? The people were farmers. They grew corn. They lived off the fruits of their labors. Corn needs water. When the rains stopped coming the people could not grow their corn. Venacio likened the ancestral peoples reliance on corn to our modern society’s reliance on fossil fuels….what would you do if you did not have access to oil? How would you live? Where would you go?
The Wild Horsses of Mesa Verde! Magnificent animals.
Waylon – Learning about the World & Understanding Civilizations Lost!
The Sacred Kiva at Cliff Palace
The Ancestral Puebloanos – Marvelous Architects
The Cliff Dwellers of Mesa Verde
We took a van to Ingapirca today. It was a beautiful two hour ride through some of the most stunning scenery we have seen in our travels. Ingapirca is the best known archeological site of former Canari and Inca civilization in Ecuador. The Canari’s and the Inca’s coexisted peacefully for 1000 years but when the Conquistadores arrived the Canari’s alligned themselves with the Spanish betraying the Inca’s.
The Canari’s and Inca’s lived side by side for centuries, sharing land, tools and other critical resources. The figure above is the much discussed “face of the Incan”. Noone knows for sure if it is just a coincidence or whether the stone face was carved by master artisans. It can be seen on the Incan Trail near Ingapirca. I had to climb down a lot of terraced steps to get this shot.
On the road to Ingapirca our guide diverted us to a town called Asoye to visit the Church of the Virgin of the Dew. The story goes that the whole region was in a terrible drought. It was 1895. The townsfolk took the statue of the Virgin of the Dew and carried her through town in a procession in which the entire village prayed for rain. It was professed that if rain should come, the town would build a church in honor of the Virgin of the Dew. That very evening the skies opened up and there was a tremendous downpour.
The church was built out of the side of a mountain. There are 154 stone steps to reach the church. Farther up the mountain is a pathway with the 12 stations of the cross.
Waylon’s learning a lot about this stuff called civilization whether it is by osmosis or whatever!
A quick stop for lunch at a roadside bar-b-que…
Cajas National Park has over 250 lakes is located and is about 29 kilometers west of Cuenca. The park became famous since the appearance of the Virgin (Virgen del Cajas). Many people like to go there ask for miracles and pray.
We went with a group put together by Appallucta Viajes. Their office is on Gran Colombia and General Torres in an old building on the second floor. Our friend and travel agent Sandy Bravo is really helpful. We left early last Sunday and met our driver Julio and our guide Claudia.
There are approximately 125 species of birds found here. Among them are condor, violet-tailed metaltail, sword-billed, shining sunbeam, sparkling violet-ear and the veridean metal-tail. We didn’t see any of these species but it’s neat that they exist there anyway. In the lakes, you can also find Andean gulls, yellow-billed pintails and the speckled teal.
Las Cajas is an easily accessible plateau and high elevation forest park. It is a very important preservation land as it is the main source of drinking water in Cuenca, a city of 500,000 people!!
At last count, there were over 350 lakes at Cajas. You can primitive camp in the park but it is advised that you go in with a registered guide. Eleven hardy souls lost their lives in the last year alone
So very much has happened -and not – since we first arrived here in this Andean city of Cuenca, Ecuador about one month ago. We found ourselves engaged entirely with getting to know the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site,
surviving five days of Carnaval without getting pneumonia,
finding a more comfortable apartment for our family than the original one we had found through the web,
researching and selecting an appropriate language school for myself, Georjean and Waylon and then actually attending the school four hours a day! We each agree that Cuenca is a remarkable city.
We’ve already made some wonderful friends and it’s a lot of fun here. The cost of living is at least one-half of what we experience in the US and that doesn’t hurt to bad! But there are so many poor persons and they have no viable social “safety net” to pull them through but rely instead on the kindness of others more well to do.
The drug culture is still alive and well here. There is active collaboration between the Ecuadorean Police, Armed Forces and the US DEA to intercept cocaine shipments to the US and Europe.