Saturday, January 24, 2009

Costa Rica - Day 8 (Jan 10, 2009)

Once more on to the bus after breakfast for our morning adventure... relatively clear skies greet us so there is a good chance we will be able to see both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean from the highest point on the Pan American Highway, Cerro Bellavista. There are many radio towers as well as a Biological Research Station at the end of the road. The highest point is over 11,000 ft and the research station (off limits to tourists) is at 10,500 ft.

An option that some of our group are taking for the return to Savegre is to hike down the mountain on a trail that goes through old growth oak forests for part of the descent. I opt out of this adventure due to sore knees (it includes a 4000 ft elevation drop on the return to Savegre) since I'm certain that I would slow down the group considerably. Four members of our group (pictured below) plus a guide (required) hired at Savegre set out on the hike about 9:30 am and we expect them to return by 3:30 pm since the hike is supposed to take about six hours. Raul, the local guide, is in fantastic shape and our folks must be too since the group returns in slightly under 4-1/2 hours!

From Costa Rica - Day 8

Meanwhile, those of us not hiking the entire distance wander down the road awhile with Niño following in the bus. We snap photos, watch birds, marvel at being above the clouds (photo above right) and generally enjoy the beautiful scenery as well as the balmy weather. Niño calls a halt to our wandering ways around 10:45 am and back into the bus we go. Before getting on the road to Savegre, we make a much needed stop for baños at a local bakery, restaurant, shopping mart, bird watching area. About every place we've stopped so far has at least one, if not more, bird feeding and/or hummingbird feeding stations as well as gardens we can wander through. Photos below show an orchid and bromeliad (both epiphytes) growing together on a tree (left) and the so-called Poor Man's Umbrella plant (the leaves are large enough to shelter one from the rain) in bloom on the right.

Once back at Savegre, we have lunch and are on our own until 4 PM when we are scheduled to meet for another trip to view the Quetzals. Len, Leslie and myself opt to hike down the trail to the first waterfall along the river on the hotel property. It's not possible to hike to the second one because the trail is washed out beyond the first waterfall. We are only hiking for a short while when it starts to rain and continues, harder at times, for the duration of our hike. Most of us opt out of the 4 PM birding trip to view the Quetzals since the rain is still coming down. Relaxing in the bar with a warm cup of coffee laced with brandy seems a better option. Tonight is, sadly, our last night in Savegre so we don't party because we are all tired from the day's activities and must pack before going to bed.

No comments: