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Dec '11

What’s in a name?

One of the inside jokes of our family centers around the many camping trips we took growing up. Dad was always trying to find new and interesting places to go. However, this didn’t always go as planned. The first debacle started with a hike along “Mosquito Creek.” Dad, in his infinite wisdom assured us all that “It’s just a name.” After a long hike and an even longer night, I can assure you that this is no mere name. A few days later, he decided to try again…..”Bear Lake, Kids! Just a name!” Many of you may know of my intense phobia of bears (and tornados, but that’s for another day). Well, while we didn’t see any actual bears on this hike, we did find enough fresh bear tracks on the way back to compel me to run full sprint back to the car. Lovely. You’d think we’d learned our lesson but oh no, one last location: Death Valley. We all were convinced this was clearly just a name or at least, quite an exaggeration. But alas, our near death experience came not from the heat and isolation as one would expect but from the fact that Dad decided Death Valley was a good location for my sister to try out her new driver’s permit. Bouncing along in our huge van down a deserted desert road, I was sure this was the end.  Well, due to God’s good graces, we made it out alive,  but I’ve been wary of names ever since.

Well, as I do most days, I was looking through the BBC’s day in pictures section a few days ago and  came across this photo with the following caption: “Ecuador’s government is urging those living near the Tungurahua volcano to evacuate because of increased activity.” 

We knew that there was a volcano near Baños (where we are planning to live), and we knew that it had been active recently. Turns out, Tungurahua is the volcano that overlooks Baños. So, after seeing this picture, I decided I better take a closer look at volcanoes (which I’d been avoiding for fear of creating a new phobia). I found a news article that contained the following report from Tungurahua on Nov. 29th:

 “…volcanic activity was characterized by the expulsion of incandescent boulders, 
rising more than 300m (984ft) above the crater and rolling down all sides of the volcano.” 

Ok, phobia confirmed–Can you imagine seeing a boulder shoot 1000 feet into the air?! Active may be a slight understatement.  It sounds like this volcano has been in an active state for the past 10 years or so. In 1999, there was an eruption that required the town of Baños to be evacuated for a couple months! There have been other smaller eruptions, one in 2010 and, one in April 2011. So, needless to say, we’re considering potential backup options although both of us really would like to see an active volcano sometime in our lives.

However, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by this. The article ended with the following statement: “Tungurahua means “Throat of Fire” in the indigenous Quechua language.”
I’m sure it’s just a name….


3 comments to “What’s in a name?”

  1. Dad/Jon Says:

    Just a clarification to the story…..the name of the last site was actually Death Canyon, not Valley. Sounds much safer…

  2. Abby Says:

    …yeah, that really clears it up 🙂

  3. Ava Arsaga Says:

    “Throat of Fire?” Hummm. I’m not worried or anything.

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