Hiking Through The Clouds
Trip Start Oct 07, 2013
75Trip End Ongoing
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It was simply a coincidence that I hit a massive pothole every time DH and Deb P started in on their 'what's wrong with men' conversations (version 347), but we did arrive in the Cloud Forest town of Santa Elena suitably shaken and stirred
On our way to the night safari we replaced Deb P with a hitchhiker going to the same safari who turned out to be an Israeli national who was living in Boston while getting his Doctorate in Japanese Military Strategy, and was now taking a break to travel Costa Rica- perhaps the only country in the world without a military. As you might expect, conversations with our replacement travel companion were quirky with a healthy side of funny. The safari itself turned out to be a smorgasbord of nocturnal critters but given the darkness, extended distance, and lack of a tripod, Tina B may want to avert her eyes as she goes through those pics. After dropping off our Israeli friend and his samurai sword, we returned to our room only to find Deb P in the fetal position on the bed mumbling something about a "stupid allergy" so we knew we'd be doing most of our Cloudforest adventure without her
The Monteverde Cloudforest is a must-do stop on any eco-tour of Costa Rica. Only 1% of the global woodland consists of cloud forests and Monteverde is the posterchild of these types of forests which are characterized, not surprisingly, by a persistent cloud cover, usually at the canopy level. Having come from the rainforests of Arenal (just a short distance away), it was almost erie (and certainly drier) to be wandering through the fog, mists, and clouds of Monteverde. And the primary object of our hunt in the ghostly forest? The not-particularly-scary Resplendent Quetzal. This flying critter is a big deal among birdwatchers everywhere, and since our chances of catching a glimpse of a jaguar were close to zero we decided this was going to be success measure for our day in the cloudforest. The Resplendent Quetzal has a Near-Threatened status but is often counted among the most beautiful birds in the world- the birds are so revered that they are the symbol of Guatemala which also trades in currency known as the "quetzal." It wasn't looking good although we did see a sleeping sloth, snakes, tarantulas, spiders, coatis, capybaras, and a number of colourful birds (including humingbirds at a makeshift feeding station in the middle of the forest). But just as we were about to turn around, we spotted our target, and since he had just finished eating an entire avocado, he was compliantly sitting on a branch digesting before spitting out the seed. It would have been nice if he had sat a little closer to us but based on the fist pumps and chest bumping going on with the guides, it would seem that we were very lucky to get this kind of view. Still don't get the whole bird watching passion but we did feel fortunate to have a close encounter with this particular bundle of feathers.