Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Rain Forest, Cloud Forest.. Green All around

We've been enjoying the green of the Green Season (aka wet season).. but global warming is leaving it's mark here too.. not as much rain as they usually get and the farmers are worried. When we took a tour of  Monteverde Cloud Forest the guide said they are seeing species of birds that wouldn't normally be there.. that tended to live in dryer habitats. Guiltily though, being here in the Green season and not getting the rain has been great for us.

We had a clear night for our night walk and saw a two-toed sloth moving (which is quite a treat as they spend 18 hours a day sleeping!), saw some cool insects, porcupine (which looks more like a monkey and lives in the trees), and an owl. The highlight for us was was seeing the huge tarantula and Sean thought seeing the snake was pretty cool too (the snake was found in the guides house.... they tend to seek out dry places in the rain, so it's common to find snakes in the homes!).

Yesterday we went to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (a world heritage site) and paid for the guide which was pretty amazing.. very nice guy, Alexander, and who was keen to make sure we saw some wildlife.. and we saw the resplendent Quetzel ! which is quite rare as it only lives in cloud forest areas.. it didn't have it's full tail feathers (it grows it each year for the mating season).. but it is still such a beautiful bird. There was a full on scrum on the trail though.. it was funny.. groups jocking for the best spot to see it, the guides setting up their high power telescopes to make sure their group got a view. It was a full on trail jam.. wish I took a picture of it actually.. it was pretty comical. Eric said it was like paparrazzi for the Quetzal. Our guide also showed us a green pit viper that we would definitely have never of seen on our own.. coiled up comfortably on a branch.. such a beautiful green.

After the tour (which happened all in the early morning.. everything happens early here.. it feels like late morning to me and I check the watch and it's only 8:30 or 9.. I have to get used to the new rhythm that follows the sunrise and sunset), we killed a bit of time, then had lunch, then headed back to walk the trails on our own. The rich green, lush, tropical, forest was amazing to walk through - epiphytes, ferns, and vines (which actually aren't vines, but roots reaching down to the soil).. like the walk through the Redwood forests in California.. just good for the soul. We hiked to the the continental divide ridge where the wind was strong and could see the clouds just whipping by, so close to us.. and could see the clouds streaming down the side of the mountain. It was a nice 5 km hike but with our sense of time being off, we ended up finishing the trail to an empty park - we were the lone car in the parking lot and everything was closed up! oops.. the sun was starting to set and we were graced with just a beautiful view down to the coast.

We have decided to stay one more day here, love the relaxed atmosphere of the Pension and with a communal kitchen, it helps us keep the costs down. We are having a homeschooling, relaxed, no need to go anywhere day (though the owner just told us about a great waterfall that the kids would probably like.. so now I'm feeling a a bit guilty thinking of having a lounge day when there is this amazing thing to see/experience...we'll see).

I hope everyone is weathering the storm okay (the guide was asking us if we lived in the same area as where the Hurricane hit and we said "no, where we live, we don't get hurricanes"  !.. it wasn't until later that night that we realized what has been happening back home!.. Hope everyone and their property is okay).

Night Walk - Day 3

Red-kneed Tarantula

False Coral Snake

Beautiful Moon lit night
Day 4

There seems to be this misting, sun showers each morning..
which leaves amazing rainbows

Resplendent Quetzel

Inside a Fig Tree where the original tree was choked out
Fig Tree (these are the roots of the original tree)

Trogan bird

Pit Viper - yes.. very venomous!


Fern Trees!

Sean with a Poor Man's Umbrella

see the trees reflection?

Liam pretending to be a Toucan (his new favourite animal)..
it was windy up there! "I can fly.. I can fly.." he says.

epiphytes everywhere

Looking west down onto the Nicoya Peninsula
 (where we are heading tomorrow)

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