miércoles, 29 de julio de 2009

Expedition Update: Loja/Los Paltas - Part II

In addition to the adventures described in the first report of our Expedition in the mountains of Loja, Ecuador we also discovered two archaeological sites hidden in the cordillera. We spotted the sites from up the ridge and in our second attempt managed to descend to them, passing through Paramo (grassy Andean Highland) and cloud forests. The first site on 2276m altitude is in a quite bad shape as the weather has strong impacts on the place while the second site on 2852m altitude is in very good conditions because it lies in an area protected by the cordillera. As both archaeological sites have been constructed by the pre-Inca culture the Paltas they are at least 500 years old. As many pre-Inca cultures the Paltas have been conquered first by the Inca who destroyed most of their culture imposing their own on all conquered civilisations and a few years later the Spanish Conquistadores finished the work of the Incas. Therefore today there is little evidence of the Paltas who inhabited big parts of what today forms the most southern province of Ecuador: Loja. We reported our discoveries to the INPC Loja (Instituto Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural Loja) who confirmed us as discoverer of both sites and assured that they will start the investigation of the sites as soon as possible in order to conserve the ruins as well as to determine their function.
All our tours in this area have been supported by EGT: http://www.ecuadorgalapagostravels.ec/

lunes, 20 de julio de 2009

The Loja Expedition Part II

In June 2009 we travelled south from Quito and continued our exploration of the Province of Loja, especially the Forest Protectorate Colambo - Yacuri in the south of the province near the border to Peru. Once more we used the little Andean village San Antonio de las Aradas as the base for our tours into the mountains, following the kind invitation of Don Jose who provided us with cozy lodging, tasty local food and many information and histories on the mountains. Unfortunatley soon after we started our tour bad weather kept us from completing the planned route but nevertheless we spent 7 days exploring the mountain range. At the ridge strong winds and heavy rain fall combined with cold nights were a hard test for us and our equipment while exploring the valleys steep slopes which are largely covered by Andean cloud forest made it difficult to find routes and often slowed us down. Also it resulted quite difficult to find good campsites and in spite of the rainfalls we had problems to find drinking water in the higher parts, obliging us sometimes to descend more then an hour to find a spring and then ascent back in double the time carrying the water up to the camp. Descending from the mountains we had to cross several swollen rivers in the valleys due to the heavy rainfalls in the upper parts. While trying to cross these rivers we gave several involuntary feasts to the local mosquito community... Besides the fascinating landscape the encounter with an Andean spectacled bear was the highlight of this adventure. We are planning to return to Loja to finish the orginally planned route in october/november 2009.