Saturday, February 10, 2018

Cuenca and hiking at 13671 feet part 2

My fourth day in Cuenca was the most adventurous. I went to Cajas National Park which is at high altitude and is known for its hundreds of lakes. We started at laguna LLaviuco and took a 2.5 kilometer walk around the lake. We got to see alpaca and llamas which was pretty cool.


This used to be a Brewery






We then went up to the highest point in the park, 3 Cruces at 4167 meters or 13,671 feet. Luckily we only got out and walked around. It was literally dizzying. 



We then went down to 3800 meters and took at 5.5 kilometer hike up and down hills. I was beautiful and breathtaking (no really it took my breath away). After about 3 hours we had a nice trout lunch. Trout were introduced to the park and have killed some native plants and fish. You can now fish unlimited trout if you desire. 








On my last day in Cuenca I toured a Hat museum (more like a hat store) and got to see how they finish the Panama hats.  Which incidentally originate in Ecuador. This is the tale I was told...When the Panama canal was being constructed Ecuadorians worked on the construction and brought their hats with them. When President Roosevelt went to visit the canal, he was given a hat. He like it a lot and wore it home to the states. When he was asked about the hat he said it was from Panama and so it was then called the Panama hat. 


I also went to the Pumapungo Museum which is a natural history museum with an interesting exhibit on the different ethnic groups in Ecuador. Also really interesting was the part on the Shuar who used to shrink heads. It was a tastefully done exhibit. However the shrunken heads on exhibit were incredibly creepy. When the Shuar killed enemies, to block an evil spirit from using its powers, they severed their enemies' heads and shrank them. The process also served as a way of warning their enemies. The museum is also on an Incan site. 


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