Thursday, August 30, 2012

Costa Rica: Hiking to the Volcano

Oy, it's been crazy around here.  Or maybe it's just me.  We got our orders and can now start the moving process, so things have been scarce on the blogs.

Anyway, the day after the waterfall, Mike and I chose to hike in the National Park on the opposing south side of the Arenal Volcano, which is also the lave flow side.  Adding to the experience, it was a steamy morning on the higher peak.

The hiking trails weren't long, so we allotted ourselves just a couple hours to walk to the end and back.  The head of the trail had this to announce:

This is a crappy-quality picture of a really neat tree near the beginning.

The first kilometer or so was through wild sugarcane fields.  Every once in a while we came upon a volcanic contribution to the landscape.

Soon enough we entered an area of true jungle.  Here is was dark and cooler and full of sound.  We saw many kinds of birds, but the light made them hard to capture.  Also saw some howler monkeys, but they were too far away for a good shot.  Senor Toucan here was chattering with some friends.

These guys were chasing moths or butterflies.

The map we had our hands on had a giant tree marked on it, and we were wondering if we had missed it until we came upon this:

After another kilometer, we climbed out of the jungle and into a field of huge boulders crawling with lizards who preferred to live where they could actually get some sunlight.

This was about as close as we could get.  You can see how partway up the green stuff stops and the slopes turned into what what reminded us of Mount Doom.

The path was littered with flowers growing from down in the cracks of rocks.  So sweet looking.

Then it was back down into the jungle and the cane field to the parking lot.  One more decent shot of some of the animals we saw.  Head to butt he was about as big as my hand.

Waiting for our ride back to the hotel, we watched a hummingbird make continuous rounds of his flowery territory.  Occasionally he would stop to rest just enough for me to snap a pic.

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