Okay, finally going to be caught up to the present. Ish. I’ve got a huge backlog of things I want to tell you about- how can I encapsulate everything we’re doing (and how exhausted it makes me) in just a few pictures per day? We’re now in Monteverde, a beautiful cloud forest preserve on the continental divide of Central America. You can actually see both oceans at once from a certain point along the ridge.
Because of the constant winds and the moisture coming off of the seas, Monteverde is more or less constantly damp, especially as you climb the mountain upwards. From the field station here (a gorgeous, and to our minds luxurious building) you can climb trails that take you straight up the elevation and corresponding moisture gradient. This is really the most classically “jungle” spot we’ve been- everything competes for light and space, decomposition happens almost at the speed of light in order to keep every bit of nutrient in the cycle of life, green and brown vines hang from almost every tree and rock, and epiphytic bromeliads adorn tree branches and collect tiny pools of water in their leaves.
It’s so much harder to see animal life here- apparently there are lots of Resplendent Quetzals (my spirit animal, remember?), ocelots, jaguars, tapirs, hummingbirds, butterflies, and frogs, but in the riot of dense green makes it so much harder to spot anything. Somehow, we managed to spot this little froggy, though it took me nearly a minute to find him in the leaves (we moved him for this picture, don’t get too impressed with your frog-spotting skills)!
Other than the occasional insect or bird, though, almost everything else is plants. And the plants don’t disappoint. More on them soon!