Corcovado, Costa Rica

I suppose our first step into the jungle happened when we anchored in Bahia Drake for a few days with Ute and Que Onda.  We celebrated Al and Cora's birthday, and went for hikes.  I´ll update more about that on our other website.

Our trek started from Golfito, where we asked the folks at Land Sea Marina to watch after Hebe.  We took a ferry to Puerto Jimenez (does it strike anyone else as really funny that we paid for a boat ride?), and caught a collectivo taxi to the end of the road.  Which is still 3.5 km from the beginning of the park.  This park has remained so wild and diverse precisely because no road has gone there.  It was clear our collectivo taxi was on it's last legs, it kept stalling as we tried to climb the hills, leading the driver to coast back down the hill in reverse and try to pop start the truck that way.  Very interesting way to start a car in the jungle. On potholed dirt roads.

But we made it to the end of the road, where, at my insistence, we went the wrong way, up a very very steep hill, for over an hour.  When we arrived at the end of our wrong turn we were greeted with glasses of ice water at a fancy hotel.  And given directions back to where we'd started and told to the correct way to walk.  Naturally it was getting late, so we set up camp our first night on the beach, en route to the park.  Crabs came out by the dozens to crawl around (loudly) on the dry leaves.  Tim noted that we'd parked our hammocks under coconut palms, which tend to drop coconuts, I had one graze my foot, fortunately our heads were spared a coconut bruising.

We spent the first day hiking along the beach, the most incredibly jungly beach with overhanging palms and a spring river we lunched by, drank from and swam in.  Birds screeched nearly the whole time. 

I could list loads of animals (and I may still) but mostly the animals look like either someone took a paintbrush to them (scarlet is a favorite color) or they slapped together parts of familiar animals, making a new one.  Like the Coati, we saw a family of them, they have almost raccoon tails, and armadillos head, and a slightly bigger body like an opossum.  Or the Baird's Tapir mom and baby that nearly ran us over, it's got a little elephant's nose on a nearly pony sized pig's body.  Funny lookin beasts.  Here´s some pics of the plants and animals...

We arrived at the Seirna Ranger Station by around 2 pm, spent the rest of the day on their ample porch reading and staying off our feet.  I am breaking in new boots, and my feets were singing the pain song.  Somewhat unfortunately we were required to actually sleep at the ranger stations in our tent/hammocks, they say that if you don't show up they take the jungle seriously and send out a rescue party.  So we pitched our tent the two nights we spent there on the airstrip by the station, and wow, what sounds came from the surrounding jungle.  The howler monkeys in particular are really impressive.  They make a sound like a monster coming out of the blackest abyss about to eat you, or a ship coming out of hyperspace, it's such a loud and resonant Hollywood sound improbably coming from a monkey.

We spent the next day continuing up the beach a bit, but a threatening storm and a rising tide turned us back, we strung up our hammocks with an ocean view inside the jungle and cold kicked it.  That's where the Tapir's almost ran us over.  Out of the jungle, across our path and under our hammocks, completely unconcerned with our presence.

The following day we set out early to Los Pato's Ranger station. A couple of herds of pigs squealed at us along the way, we armed ourselves with sticks while we waited for them to pass.  Several troops of monkeys were overhead throughout the day, at some point I (stupidly) stood directly underneath one and looked up.  Out of the trees came a stick aimed for my eye.  I kept moving.   Some point after that a solitary monkey yelled at us, I didn't need anymore urging to keep me going. 

The following day we hiked into a waterfall off the trail one of the rangers told me about and spend the morning exploring the falls and the river.  So so beautiful, all to ourselves, in the middle of the jungle.  I saw one of the really cool little black and dayglo green frogs.  In a trip full of favorites, this is one of my favorite parts of the trip.  That afternoon we packed it in and hiked out along a river before we hitched a ride with a local guy collecting rocks along the riverbed.  The truck had a high cage we rode on top of, dodging branches and swaying in the potholes.  And what do you know? We get dropped off just outside of some small town we can catch a bus in, an hour before the bus shows up, at a pizza place.  Finding pizza in this town is like finding a traditional Ethiopian restaurant in podunkville, ohio.  It just doesn't happen, except when it does.

Our first night camping on the beach.

Our hike along the beach the next day.

Low tide exploration the following day.

Tim experimenting with hermit crabs.

The waterfall we found off the main trail.

The river our private waterfall was attached too. So much exploration.

Sunset the first night.