Friday, November 5, 2010

costa rica....leg 4

What looks like a short drive on the map is a four hour trek.  The volcano was completely cloud covered this morning and this made it less difficult to depart our Arenal oasis.  The arduous driving is matched by its beauty,  and I was grateful for out 15 km per hour pace.  It made for better people watching.  

The afternoon was spent at Sepulvea, running across hanging bridges, chasing hummingbirds, and hitting each other with gigantaleaves. 

What is now considered Monteverde was founded by Quakers from the United States whose pacifist values led them to defy the American draft during the Korean War.  Two brothers from this group built and run the Hotel Fonda Vela.  We checked in, roamed the immense gardens, and didn't want to leave.  Ansel, by the time in the trip, had become almost obnoxious as I am with his need to take pictures of everything.  
At dusk, we put on our raincoats, borrowed some flashlights, and spent 2 hours on a night hike in the Children's Eternal Rainforest with Graybean (that is how he pronounced his name), our personal tour guide.  The Children’s Eternal Rainforest  is the largest private reserve in Costa Rica, with an area of 22,500 hectares of protected tropical forest. 

 The Children’s Rainforest Movement began in 1987 with a small classroom in Sweden and has  continued to expand around the world. It was a tangible reminder to us and the kids that we can  affect change in the world.  At present, 44 different countries have contributed to the acquisition and protection of the land.  

I think I haven't mentioned that October is down month in Costa Rica.  It is considered the rainy season and many people close shop and don't bother trying to make a living.  It worked to our benefit in that we never had to fight crowds, had personal tour guides, and got special rainy season rates in our hotels.  The downside was that we felt personally responsible for the economic health of the country. 

The forest takes on new life in the dark and we saw innumerable amounts of insects and creepy crawly things.  We are all enjoying ourselves until we came across a few of these beautiful creatures nestled on the edge of their muddy holes.   Ansel could not wait to get back to the car. 

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