From: "Drew Brown"
To: xx@xx
Subject: something odd in Ecuador
Date: Fri, 4 Jul 2003 02:48:09 -0400

Hi Dougie,

I was recently in Glasgow and came across a copy of the Angry Corrie. I read with interest your article on strange sounds atop the mountain of Kintail. It reminded me, with the strange shiver of recognition up the spine, of a trip that my ex-wife and I took to South America in 1993-1994.
We were in Ecuador and decided to do a tramp around Mt. Cotapaxi, about 50 miles south of Quito. Being a couple of poor gringos on a thin budget, we jumped off the bus on the PanAm about 5 miles north of the entrance gate to the park and started cross-country towards an old NASA tracking station that we knew gave a reliable landmark on our map. We found the remains of the station after a day of bushwacking up a beautiful rugged creekbed and spent the night. The next night, we made our way around the back of Cotapaxi and spent the night camping in a high altiplano valley in the shadow of the mountain and its glacier. It was then that the strange sounds started.
It began about 30 minutes before nightfall. We were camped below a bare ridgeline, cooking dinner, when all out of nowhere, we began to hear this strange swooshing sound. At first, it seems to rush from north to south behind us along the ridge. Then it seems as if it were in front of us. Then it was soon all around, at first in one direction then the other.
The sound was distinctly jetlike in quality.As darkness fell, we looked in vain for lights or anything that might indicate military manuevers, which we were sure had to be the cause. But we saw nothing. No lights, anything. The strange, jetlike swooshing continued for about 45 minutes, then stopped, as suddenly as it had begun. We puzzled over it for a while, then attributed it to one of those strange anamolies of nature that occurs when one or two people are alone in the woods.
We shrugged it off and thought nothing of it. The next evening, we were camped about 10 miles or so away, after a hard day of hiking. We were making dinner again, at about the same time, when the strange noise started up again. The patterns were the same. This time, we were in a bit of more open country, so we thought we'd be able to spot the source, but again, saw nothing. The sounds continued for about 45 minutes and stopped.
We were on this trek, just the two of us, for seven days. After the first night, we heard the same sound regularly at about the same time each evening. It lasted about 45 minutes each time. In other words, from about 15 minutes before sunset, to about 15 minutes past dark. Needless to say, by the end of the seventh day, we were pretty freaked out about it, so much that we never went hiking alone in South America again.
The only other time I ever heard it was when I was with an Australian couple, climbing Mt. Tunguruaha (spelling) in southern Ecuador. Both those two, being scientists as they were, refused to believe that anything was out of the ordinary. they ascribed it to birds.
My ex-wife and I did several more hikes in Ecuador and Peru, including the Cordillera Blanca, the Cordillera Huayhash and the Inca Trail, but we never heard anything like it again. When we came home, we jokingly referred to it as our "UFO experience." We did plenty of more stuff in isolated places afterwards, but again, we never heard anything like that. I've since spent a lot of time in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Iraq, etc., but I've never heard anything or heard of anyone tell of anything like this in my life.
When I was in Glasgow and read your piece, I realized I was not alone. I thought I might finally be on to an answer. But unfortunately, my own trip to Scotland passed uneventfully. I hiked alone to the top of Ben Macduie in a rainstorm, then a blizzard, but it experienced nothing like either of us have described. The only thing was the wind, the rain, the cold and the snow. And that was in late April. Still it was a beautiful experience.
Just thought I'd pass this along.
Drew Brown
Washington, D.C.