Needless to say, after my backside took a wallop from galloping around the Costa Rican countryside yesterday, I figured that today should be a bit more relaxing. At my hotel I had breakfast with a well-traveled Irishman, and after a half hour of exchanging traveler’s tales of horror we decided to leisurely stroll the 1.6 miles out of Monteverde to the Curi-Cancha wildlife refuge.
I had decided yesterday to go to Curi-Cancha instead of the more famous Monteverde reserve namely because it is a bit smaller, quieter and got amazing reviews on tripadvisor. Jerry, my breakfast mate, reinforced my decision when he told me yesterday he went to Monteverde and there were buses of people, including large groups of loud children and thus, no wildlife to be seen his entire visit.
We arrived to Curi-Cancha reserve shortly after 9am, paid the $14 entrance fee and discussed our trail options with the lovely woman working at the park office. She helped map out a 3 hour walk through the reserve and off we set into the forest.
Within 5 minutes Jerry proclaimed that this was already better than Monteverde because we saw a large Oropendola nest at the beginning of the trail followed by a very large rodent, an Agouti.
As we began navigating the well-marked trails, we saw several large curtain fig trees. Curtain fig trees are amazing to look at, but they’re actually quite vicious when you learn that they are a parasitic tree. Fig trees germinate on top of another tree and then try to grow their roots to the ground. Once their roots hit the soil, the fig will grow vigorously, swallowing, strangling and then eventually killing the host tree.
We also saw some winged-friends this morning at Curi-Cancha… hummingbirds and blue butterflies fluttered around the tropical forest.
I was on the lookout for another Resplendant Quetzal after seeing three while in Panama, as well as toucans and sloths, but they all appeared to be hiding. It probably didn’t help much that it started to rain while exploring Curi-Cancha but due to the heavy upper foliage of the rainforest, we pretty much remained dry on the forest floor.
Eventually we came to a viewpoint overlooking the Continental divide. Continental divides are the point where the drainage either flows one way or the other to feed different oceans or seas.
I couldn’t help but think of my friend Sterling who 3000 miles or so northwest of me is on a mission to hike the entire US continental divide over the course of the next four-six months.
We share a lot of the same philosophies on life and I find him to be a very expressive writer so I’m pretty excited that he decided to build a blog, Ride.Run.Roam, so we could follow his progress and travel with him along the trail and his long journey through his beautiful words.
Meanwhile back here in Monteverde haha… there was also some interesting floral species near the continental divide viewpoint.
Jerry and I finished up our hike just as it began to pour down rain. We waited until it lightened up and began hiking back toward town when we were stuck in another downpour and ran to the Café Caburé for refuge.
Café Caburé just happened to be a chocolate and coffee shop as well as a restaurant, so I wasn’t too disappointed to be stuck here for a long while and had to order their infamous Chicken with mole sauce which was quite lovely and not too spicy.
While eating our leisurely lunch on the deck I spotted a female quetzal as well as other birds in the nearby tree… Jerry and I laughed at the irony as we ended up seeing more birds sitting there not trying then we did in our three or so hours in the cloud forest itself.
But sometimes that’s the way life goes, when you really aren’t looking for it the best things can happen, and I for one don’t mind a few lovely surprises.