Tuesday, December 07, 2004

A Project To Get Excited About

A few days ago, Guido Washington, a young attorney in town, asked me if I was interested in looking at some property he had and hearing about his plan to develop it into a nature park for the tourists. I am always interested in an adventure so off we went.

Our first stop was at the basilica where he showed me the large painting of one of the famous miracles attributed to the virgin of the Holy Waters, where a man was pulling himself across the San Francisco gorge in a small basket suspended by ropes anchored to a large tree on the Baños side. The rope broke and I presume the man plunged into the Pastaza river a hundred meters below. He was saved, according to legend by the intervention of the Virgin.

Photo by Alex Hernandez

From the church we proceeded to the San Francisco Bridge which spans this same gorge only at a higher level. This modern bridge was built in 2000-2002, after the townspeople returned from their forced exile when the government was taking precautions for the safety of the inhabitants, while preparing for the worst. This new bridge replaces the old foot bridge, and will serve as an efficient evacuation route should it ever be needed in the future.

From here we took a small trail that led down to the old foot bridge which is still in service and used by a few locals as a short cut to their small farms to the north of the city.

Below the new bridge is a whole new adventure.

Photo by J. Walker

View of the old from the new.

Photo by J. Walker

Photo by J. Walker

Here is the historic tree that is pictured in 1940 painting in the basilica, that once anchored the cable for the perilous trip across the river. During the construction of the new bridge the tree was almost destroyed but the owner managed to save most of it.

Photo by J. Walker

Trunk of this historic tree.

Photo by J. Walker

The project as I understand it will be to improve the trails on both sides of the river. as well as reconstruct the trail that goes to the left of the foot bridge to a little know waterfall where the Bascun River empties into the Pastasa. The area to the South which is on the right side of the above photo will be landscaped with native plants of various species. The round-house will serve as a snack bar and information center. This nature park will be a place where the locals and tourists alike could come for a hike The hike in and out of the area will be a loop that will take them on both sides of the river.

Photo by J. Walker

The trail construction, at this point is most important. Washington would like to have help in this part of the plan. The problem with trails in this area where there is a lot of rain is to build a trail that will have little impact on the natural surroundings and not be washed away every few months. Trail building is an art...if there are any professionals in this line of work and looking for an adventure, here is your excuse to come to Baños.

1 comment:

  1. Feeling to do some rafting there?? he he he