I know it's been quite some time since I've added anything to this blog. There have been some small projects, but nothing to write home about. This will probably be my last post and it has to do with my amazing Birthday trip down to Corcovado National Park.
I headed down to the park with my two good friends and fellow PCVs Angelo and David. This park has been at the top of my list ever since I got here. National Geographic called it one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet and I couldn't agree more.
It took us about two days to get down there by bus. We would have done it in one day but we decided not to rush. On the 7th of December we headed out into the park. This being the end of the rainy season and beginning of the dry season, rivers that are normally passable by car were too deep so our "taxi" driver (bea-tup truck) had to drop us off about 5km before the first ranger station/beginning of the park. We headed off, crossing relatively shallow rivers until we made it to our first station to check in at the Los Patos station (see map below). From there we started our journey deep into the park on a very muddy and difficult 23km hike through primary forest. This was truly the heart of darkness. Though this was hot and humid jungle, the huge canopy always kept us in the shade and cooled things down, relatively speaking. We walked for hours,crossing lazy rivers, through mud, around ancient trees, listening to the thousands of noises from howler monkeys, metallic insect chirps, frog croaks, bird calls and more. Our first day we saw: wild hogs, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, a myriad of frogs, toads, and lizards, all types of birds, a tapir, and all kinds of insects. See photos below:
Map of Corcovado: We started at Los Patos, hiked down to Sirena to camp out at the ranger station for two nights, leaving the park to La Leona.
Howler Monkey checking us out.
Strangler fig taking over it's host.
Angelo and David with a Walking Palm. The tree moves towards the light by slowly putting down these areal roots toward the light.
This is a shot from the ranger station facing the ocean. The green lawn is actually a landing strip for small prop planes to drop off supplies and hikers.
This is hard to make out but the grey objects are wild pigs.
While relaxing on the beach, Angelo spotted a Tapir roaming the other side of the beach. We ran to get some pictures. It was about the size of a cow and just as tame. It didn't really seem to mind us much.
The next day we hung out around the station. It was rainy for most of the day, but we still enjoyed some of the smaller trails around the station and saw even more wildlife.
This Parrot has become a resident at the station, we caught it in the kitchen stealing someone's spaghetti.
Not the best picture, but there are three more parrots if you can spot them.
A Croc sunning by the river's edge.
I wasn't able to get a picture of them, but we did see the fins of a couple Bull Sharks. At high tide the water level is high enough for the sharks to swim up the river to go hunting. Their fins were enough to give me the chills.
Our third day we left the ranger station and hiked out of the park. This hike was the most scenic and absolutely breathtaking. It ran mostly along the coast. We threaded in and out of trails right on the beach or just off of it. The beaches were picturesque tropical paradises filled with animal life. It was spectacular.
La Sirena ranger station in the morning prior to leaving.
Morning sun on the trail out of la Sirena.
The beach all to ourselves.
Spider monkey hanging out.
This is a Pizote. It looks like a raccoon with long tail and snout. They were all over the place digging up crabs or eating coconuts. Not a bad life.
White faced Cappuchin.
We had to walk 3 more kilometers before we could get a lift to Puerto Jimenez, and on the walk we spotted another anteater.
Sunrise on the gulf in Puerto Jimenez. We took a ferry out.
It was an amazing trip, probably the most memorable I have taken thus far and with great company. I couldn't have asked for anything more for my birthday, other than a pair of hiking boots instead of uncomfortable rubber boots...