Day 3: Monteverde
by Tom Bernitt -- February 24th, 2010
The DELsters move on to the cloud forests.
Day THREE saw us bid adios to our friends and the scorpions at Palo Verde to travel to the University of Georgia facility at San Luis near the cloud forests of Monteverde. And also some cooler temperatures.
I must confess, however, that my environmental conscience now bothers me because there were times on the switchback mountain roads that I was more concerned about the survival of the bus and its valuable passengers (i.e., me) than the survival of some other species. Nonetheless, we arrived safe and sound solely because of the expertise (once again) of our indomitable driver, Edgar.
The facilities at San Luis were absolutely world class as were the folks that greeted us that first day. Lindsey (from the fair city of Del Mar north of San Diego where the surf meets the turf at the racetrack) is the administrator and immediately took us under her wing. After a brief orientation where we studiously wrote down all the rules (as they applied to us), we then went with her (after lunch, of course) to meet the facility’s gardener extraordinaire, Señor Lucas, at the Botanical gardens to learn everything we ever wanted to know about medicinal plants and their uses. I was very excited at one point only to learn, however, that he was showing us an aloe plant rather than an agave. I was hoping for some really potent medicine but I suppose aloe has its uses as well.
After our return (after dinner, of course), we then went on a night hike with Mr. Josh, a recent graduate of UGA (who attempted to trip us up by wearing a Vanderbilt shirt). Armed with flashlights and bug spray, we mighty DELsters marched into the darkness looking for friend and foe. And after fungi and cut-leaf ants we finally scored big time, only through the intrepid skill of Josh and his 4K candle power flashlight, with several sightings of kinkajous in the forest canopy. It’s impossible to describe how cool this was, both from the perspective of the luck of finding them as well as observing such beautiful creatures existing in such a netherworld at the top of the skies.
All in all, a fine day was had by all and, after a bit of rule breaking, we all called it a good night.
Coming next on Day FOUR: “Lick the toad.”