Hiking through Intag

Owner, host Peter Joost orients us to the plants, birds and bugs of this lush landscape. He is an encyclopedia of all the different species.

Host Peter Joost
By evening, we are walking through the Intag Cloud Forest after a good downpour. Luckily rubber boots are provided! The river is rushing, so the noise level is very high – making this place really peaceful.


michael pulitzer





Ivan Suarez points out the features of a local beetle as we start on our short trek…

20160121 beetle
All clean after walking the rim of Cuicocha volcanic lake, we stop at the last “station” that is a circle with a cross and stepped square shape: a Space of Pardon. Here the offering is the simple but complex idea of forgiveness, starting a new cycle, offering forgiveness to neighbors, and linking to an eternal fire.

We finish the walk with Antonio and Ivan – along the path comes a man who says he is a “real” shaman. He greets Antonio; then joins us and blows a turtle shaped whistle to thank the deities for their healing!

last station

The solar calendar and the lunar calendar were strategically located at sacred sites in diverse locations throughout the Andes. Here, the monuments are recreated in a sacred site on the rim of the revered volcano, now considered “extinct” but the core has become a closed lake.

20160121 solar calendar

Ivan translates the Spanish descriptions – adding lots of his own interpretations!

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This is the monument where one comes for the ritual of bathing, balancing the energy in your self to be in balance with the world (we are a reflection of the world). Here you can re direct the good and the bad with the help of a Yachai, a person who leads you. Women bathe on one side, men on the other.

monumentAntonio recalls the traditions of sharing food and property between households; offering these in sacrifice to achieve abundance….here on the square monument embedded with a spiral pattern in contrasting stones.

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Michael, Dan and that’s Irene listen to the description of the lunar calendar. the moon is most important to nature as it controls the cycles of water – all the liquid in the world. These 13 posts align with the full moon every 28 days. This year was special as the full moon landed on the March 21 equinox – called a Red Moon. The equator has LOTS of energy!

Antonio describes the sundial. See the arc in stone from the base? He is standing on the equatorial line. the post is 90 cm. high. the smaller posts are 6 meters away. They create perfect time keeper – if the sun wants to come out! and they mark the 4 seasons to the day!

Ivan Suarez, our guide through the High Sierras and Antonio, the grandson of a shaman who practiced healing, seasonal ceremonies and brought balance to those in need. Together, they taught us about the traditions of the pre-Incan cultures along the rim of Cuicocha (guinnea pig) lake. The spectacular mountain, Cotacachi, remains behind clouds.

20160121 guide and shaman


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