We really weren’t sure what to expect at the Equator. We have crossed the Tropic of Cancer a couple of times and posed at the sign. One crossing was in the Volkswagen Van during our time in Baja, Mexico. Another crossing was in the camper in mainland, Mexico. But we never saw any signs like those that would indicate that we were crossing the Equator in Ecuador.
So we went on a search for the equator and we learned a lot of interesting information! For example, we learned that common technology devices have a really difficult time with the exact location!
We found the equator on a dirt road in a neighborhood of cows and horses. The nearby farmers were staring at us as we walked back and forth staring at our GPS.
We also drove around for a few hours and found the equator again at this fancy monument. The admission fee was nearly $10.00 and the parking cost more! At this location of the equator they have built an entire theme park around the marker. It included tacky souvenir shops, restaurants, children’s rides and people wearing phony historical costumes. It was rather annoying and we didn’t stay long. Just long enough to get the photo!
In a completely different location we located yet another bit of information about the equator. A more subtle obelisk, in a peaceful neighborhood, also marks the line. This location included a geocache and some great information to make us think about maps and geological lines.
This monument is called the Quitsato Sundial and is operated by a group that has prepared an informative presentation about the equator, mapping and much more. You can click on this link and open a new window. This is the website which may help you to understand some of their theories. (website about equator theories) Here we learned that there is much controversy about the exact line of the equator and none of the monuments are really in the right place. And, that the line can vary with seasons, gravitational pull and satellite measuring tools. We also learned that this group believes that the maps of the world should be shifted so that when we look at them we see North as the left side and South as the right side, so that the Equator becomes the center line and represents infinity around the globe! We wish them well on their quest to change the way the world uses maps!
One thing you may notice is that the lines on the ground at the Quitsato Sundial are the same as the lines represented in the ancient pottery that we saw in a museum. Clicking on this link will take you to the post featuring the photos. (Previous website post including pottery) Can you find the bowl I am referring to?
After hearing the presentation we quickly found the geocache and left a travel bug to be relocated. Then it was time to go find a place to sleep for the night. We had just enough hours to do a little exploring.
Nearby we found Tingo Warm Springs on the map. So we hunted for it down a few dirt roads. When we finally found the road that would take us there, they were closed. So we camped on the edge of a canyon with the springs below.
The next morning we hiked down the canyon to explore the creek and the pools. We found a swift moving, cold-water stream, a trout farm and a pool filled with lukewarm water.
We swam and soaked and enjoyed the sunny day. Then we went to the main house and the caretaker caught and cooked fresh trout lunch for us, including french fries, rice, plantain and fresh squeezed lemonade. This meal cost $5.00 each and it was $1.00 to use the pool.
All of this within a one mile range of the bizarre and elusive equator in beautiful Ecuador. What more does a gypsy traveler need?
Exploring these two different monuments was interesting. But the thrill of being on the equator passed pretty quickly. The country of Ecuador is so amazing, that there is much more to think about than an elusive line! Let’s go explore some more of Ecuador.