As we drove through the foothills, the torpid heat became more temperate, almost cold to our summer-acclimated skin. The wind blew with such a vengeance that, as I kept trying to take shots of the volcano, cloud-covered as it was, I almost blew over. Fortunately Walter, our intrepid guide was there to catch me as I began to topple. We laughed. Not a shot of the volcano is worth showing, but there will be some of the Arenal Volcano in my next post.
It started to rain as our van climbed the twisty steep roads to the little town of Dos Rios, the birthplace and home of our guide, Walter. The inevitable herd of cows was on the road.
You can't imagine who was herding them.
Mother and daughter.
It occurred to me to ask if the cows had any predators up here so close to the rainforest and Walter said that in fact it wasn't uncommon for jaguars to come out at night
and take a small or old one down. Yikes!
We arrived at the Blue River Resort, a lovely, manicured opening in the midst of the rainforest, posh by comparison to the humble mountain village of Dos Rios that we passed through. We were asked to select what we would like for lunch before we set out on our eco-hike to the most amazing set of waterfalls, that sprang like jewels out of the tropical greenery.
I was completely enthralled and from then on became the straggler in our party of 7.
Many pictures later I have this favourite to show you of the closest place to Eden I have ever been.
From the waterfalls we hiked over a rugged cow pasture, past of small group of curious bovines.
Believe me I was a little nervous getting this close to this suspicious country girl, and put possibly too much faith in the one string of barbed wire that ran between us.
The trickle of rain we were passing through as we came to the edge of the forest turned into a steady downfall and there was nothing for us to do but carry on. I was quite dismayed to be so wet.
"I've never been this wet in public!" I declared,
having left my rain gear back in the locker and venturing forth like a wet dog.
Walter was very patient with my lollygagging as I continued to snap pictures of all the newness of this jungley world. This blurry shot, for instance, which I've kept small so that you can see it better, is a walking tree which puts down roots as it seeks water and can be found quite a distance from where it originally grew! Amazing.
The trails became quite slippery with the rain, and some of the steps were quite steep, even dangerous despite the pole handrails built alongside to assist. Now the many rushing rivers, a crystaline blue from their mineral content, were roaring down from the mountains.
I began to recognize many of the plants as the small potted tropicals we see back home
Sometimes I remembered to look up. So many layers to a forest.
And so many lovely views of these warm mineral springs gone wild..
Back at the resort, I was transfixed by this amazing tree- yes, this is ONE tree- that had been taken over by other plants and had become an eco-system unto itself. So prehistoric in its massive size, large enough to drive a car through, and so abundant with life, I thought of the jungle environment in the movie Avatar, the closest thing I'd ever seen to this wondrous tapestry of vegetation.
Walter took us for a walk through the medicial gardens. I try to forgive myself for taking pictures instead of listening as closely as I should have to what he had to teach us, having learned from his grandmother who was also native to this area. Here is a little nest cradled in these beautiful leaves and flowers.
Almost all the rainforest flowers are rubbery in texture, vibrant in colour and LARGE!
I don't believe this fruit is edible, but what a necklace it would make.
These gigantic leaves are big enough to hide behind!
I believe this trailing flower is called the devil's tail. I'm sure we could come up with a nicer name than that, no?
And here I am a sodden mess. My hat leaking dye and distorted beyond use.
My shoes staining my feet a sorry orange. Despite my pathetic stance, I am happy, so happy to have had the luxury of this magical experience.
After a wonderful lunch, everyone left for the lava mud bath and a mineral springs rinse.
I stayed behind to catch a few shots of this somewhat tame but shy Toucan who dined on a plate of papaya set out for him. He's not a big bird like I expected, but oh the colour!
I did, in fact, do the mud bath, and was even rewarded with an amazing massage as an apology from the company for our delayed start to the day. Such a kind and generous people. I was completely charmed. A quick trip to the butterfly and hummingbird gardens without shots worth showing you except these delightful flowers.
A good-bye to my favourite tree.
And the day is done.
A detail of a watercolour sketch I did 2 weeks ago while I was away yet again.
More on that to come.
Yes, it has certainly been my year to travel. Normally I am a homebody. Day trips are about all I seem to care for, preferring my own pillow to come home to.
Not that one can't travel with one's own pillow :)
A home and a pillow to come home to, the humble needs to which we allhave a right.
I send my wish out there.