Tuesday, July 22, 2014

La Selva Perimeter hike

As we approached the end of our trip, we decided to dedicate a day to hiking the perimeter of La Selva (basically we did a giant outline of the map below). 


We began our 7 hour hike in the wee hours of the morning excited to test the notoriously tough hike.





Wildlife awaited us in the beginning of our hike.  Turtles trampled across the leaf litter, while monkeys mingled in the canopy.  Frogs frolicked along the paths. 


 Turtles are less common along these trails, so we were overjoyed to spot this little guy at our feet.  Here he is a little camera shy, hiding in his shell.

We came across a family of howler monkeys welcoming us to their home.  There are two abundant species of monkeys at La Selva: The howler monkeys and spider monkeys.  Spider and quick and curious.  Howler monkeys are loud.  They serve as nature's alarm clocks on the station.

Pumilios are the most common poison frogs at La Selva.  They raise their tadpoles inside bromilleads, so we suspect this frog is a mother.  (We met many people studying them in our time at La Selva).





Unfortunately we are not too great at identifying frogs, but when Lindsay caught these, we thought they were a pretty exciting find.


This was one of the many beautiful views on our hike.  Shannon commonly goes on morning runs just to see this tree because it is her favorite. 

  
This was the last picture we took on our hike because after this, it got quite difficult, to say the least.

Our hike quickly turned into a climb, where we used every part of our bodies to shove ourselves up hills and to keep from tumbling down the other sides.  At one point we figured we had made a wrong turn and were stranded in unfamiliar territory.  We eventually found a broken metal sign that let us know that we were still on La Selva's perimeter.  The rusty, moss overgrown sign also declared these trails had not been hiked in awhile.  By this time, we had figured out why. 

The rest of our journey was filled with intense adventures, including wading through rivers, balancing  across tree trunks, and Providence's encounter with the much feared bullet ant.  A few miles from the station, tired, dirty, but victorious, Carrie met us and helped us finish the hike.  

Clearly it was an adventure that I am sure we will remember in many ways for the rest of our lives. We returned to the station feeling like champs, with a ton of stories to tell our friends. We even inspired someone else to hike the perimeter the next weekend! All in all, it was a triumphant day!

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