Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 11: Living in a cloud forest

Today´s been pretty cool.  It started early this morning, we were on the bus from our hotel to get into Monteverde for breakfast.  It was the normal scrambled eggs, toast, and of course rice and beans.  It wasn´t bad.  After that a group of us went up to take the Sky tour.  We went on the Sky Tram which is like an enclosed ski lift.  Only thing was is that we were about 400 feet off the ground at the highest point.  It was kind of a bummer because it was cloudy at the top of the mountain today.  So we couldn´t see very far, but it was still quite the experience.  I´m not too afraid of heights, but when were were at the precipice there was a big gust of wind of about 30 mph that hit us from the side.  When you´re that high up and the thing starts swinging side to side...your hearts starts beating and you grab onto anything that´s solid.  When we got to the top we found out that in order to build the tram, they hauled everything up on the backs of men.  They would strap pieces on and hike up the mountain.  It took almost two years to build the thing because of this.  They didn´t want to disrupt the cloud forest around it by building a ATV path or truck path, so the backs of men was the only thing left.
The Worthington Crew at the top of the Sky Tram.  It started pulling away right as we were taking the picture.  That's why Gordon looks kind of wierd.

Up the mountain and into a cloud on the Sky Tram.

Then we were on to the Sky Walk that took us over five suspension bridges that went through the cloud forest.  You might be asking, why it is called a cloud forest.  Two reasons, one the elevation.  We were at about 5000 ft above sea level.  Second the precipitation.  This cloud forest gets about 12 ft of rain a year, the Costa Rican rain forest gets 24 ft a year.  It was a cool hike.  We learned a lot about tarzan swings, the ecosystem, and we even saw some monkeys.  The highest bridge that we went across was 150 ft. above the ground.  And when the wind blew, you held on.

One of the monkeys we saw in the Cloud Forest.

Then we were off to Salvatura which is another 2 km up the mountain.  When we got up there we went into the butterfly garden.  It was pretty amazing seeing the different varieties of Costa Rican butterflies.  They had hatcheries, and our guide was really good.
Butterfly garden hatchery.

Then we were off to the humming bird garden.  I tried to get close to them and got about 18 inches away.  I took some blurry pictures.  There wasn´t a guide this time, so it was just us there, watching, getting dive-bombed by humming birds.
If you look close you can see some humming birds close to the feeders.  Clyde was about 18 inches from it and getting dive bombed in the process.

Tonight some people are going in to the Children´s Eternal Rain Forest.  I decided against it since tomorrow we´re going on a coffee plantation tour and horseback riding.  The Children´s Eternal Rain Forest is a section of about 50,000 acres of rain forest that was bought and made into a preserve.  Dr. Hedstrom does a lot of work out of there.

Today was a great day, I´ll try and post pics tomorrow night when we get back to Carrillos.

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