A Landslide for Biden!

That is all that can save America now!

Anyone who watched that nasty, rude, interrupting liar in tonight’s debate can surely not vote for that devil. I turned it off after 50 minutes and will not watch any more debates. It is too sickening to watch him. There is something deeply wrong with a country that elects and supports a racist fascist like Trump. Vote him out overwhelmingly! Your only hope America!

We don’t have room for all of you in Costa Rica. 🙂

Insect Bites on Hikes?

One of my regular readers asked about insects and bug bites on all the wilderness hikes I make with every trip and in a little-less wilderness around where I live in Atenas, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica. And he asked what I did about them.

YES, in the tropics, and Costa Rica specifically, there are actually more insect species than all of the U.S. and Canada combined. Generally they seem to me to be worse at hot times, our summer which is North America’s winter – ironically the time of year we have the most tourists! 🙂 But also location is a big factor, para ejemplo (for example) hotter lowland rainforests and year-around wetlands seem worse to me than mountain cloud forest like I was in last week. And that includes most beaches which have more mosquitoes for example than I have ever seen here in the central valley. But the government has done an excellent job of keeping down the population of mosquitoes all over the country because of diseases they carry and I seldom see one. But there are still many other bugs that bite all over the country! And spiders too!

And you birders remember than many birds eat insects, thus the places I have photographed the most bird species like Maquenque Lodge Boca Tapada and Rancho Humo Guanacaste are wetlands year-around and thus more insects than some dryer places. Here in the Central Valley I see more insects just before and at the beginning of rainy season (April-May) than I do during the daily rains like right now. Not sure why.

When hiking in the reserves and parks I usually spray with Deep Woods Off (a high % of Deet) before going out, and occasionally here at home when I see lots of insects. For treatment off bites I always take a tube of Allergel with me or a similar antihistamine gel/ointment /cream to relieve the itching (many brands here from Europe, U.S., etc). When you live in the tropics you must learn to live with insects! 🙂

Around my house I notice at different times of the year an influx of different flying insects that are pests more than biters, while at other times I get biten and don’t even know by what! 🙂 I just pull out the antihistamine gel and treat it and so far I have lived through all my bug bites! 🙂

Frogs have it easy, they can eat what bugs them. ~Unknown

¡Pura Vida!

See my Insects Gallery which is separate from my Butterfly Gallery or an earlier blog post titled “Living with Bugs.”

El Silencio Book Published

I’m happy to announce that the trip report photo book from my visit to El Silencio Lodge is finished and now available for you to preview electronically for free or order a copy if you like! 🙂 It’s 60 pages with 97 photos of a truly incredible place! See it in my Blurb Bookstore at https://www.blurb.com/b/10309436-el-silencio.

Feature photo is front cover and the back cover is below:

“God is the friend of Silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence . . .

We need silence . . . to touch souls.”

~Mother Teresa

¡Pura Vida!

Villa #4

The villas are different ages as they were added through the years with mine one of the older ones I think but an excellent “Suite” style with open living room, bedroom with King Bed and a huge bathroom with separate little room for toilet plus outside door to my outside Jacuzzi Hot Tub in total privacy but still looking up at the trees. Then there was the great deck/porch or terrace it is called here with great forest views and a place to relax in the outdoors, even in the rain with its roof! I walked almost everywhere but did use their free golf cart transportation to return from dinner at night and to take me and my bags back to office to check out on last day where their driver just moved my bags from the cart to Walter’s van that was waiting. Great service in absolutely everything! And that is what makes a great lodge! 🙂

But the best thing about El Silencio Lodge was the attitude of the employees! They treated me so special every moment of every day that I can’t help but like them! 🙂

“Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us.”

– Earl Nightingale

¡Pura Vida!

El Silencio General Shots

The El Silencio Lodge & Reserve is a very special and unique place! And I say that having spent nights in more than 45 lodges & hotels in Costa Rica. For service, food, room quality, and the natural surroundings it is definitely now in my top 3 favorite lodges and maybe even my #1 favorite! (Remember – different lodges have different priorities!) And also it is my most expensive! 🙂 But with waterfalls like La Promesa at right near your cabin, it is worth almost any price! 🙂 And of course nothing is perfect . . .

My only two complaints at checkout were that the bathroom sink drained slowly because the stopper was installed incorrectly (CR is not famous for great plumbers) and the gourmet chef who served great food served me limp, lightly cooked bacon. Bacon must be crisp in my book! 🙂 Though, in his defense, the night I asked for a well-done steak, he did that very well! 🙂 And I had not specifically asked for the bacon to be crispy! (Had I, it probably would have been! Never assume nothin’!))

I mainly walked, but they have golf carts and drivers who will pick you up anytime, day or night and take you anywhere on campus free of charge! They also have two fleets of bicycles you can use for free, with a handful actually electric! Then they have several vans to take you off-campus to outside waterfalls or other attractions like Poas Volcano, two national parks, birding trips as far as Cañon Negro included with the cost of a guide for the trip. But believe me – there’s enough to do on campus to fill a week easily and their 3 beautiful waterfalls are as good or better than the two outside ones I paid extra to see! But still glad I saw them!

With nature my focus, I don’t get a lot of hotel shots, but here are a few with a separate gallery for my room or villa shots . . .

Going to the mountains is like going home.

—John Muir

My Trip Gallery: 2020 El Silencio Lodge & Reserve

¡Pura Vida!

Lichens, Leaves & Nature Things!

Some wonder what I do with a whole week at one of these very remote nature lodges I visit all over Costa Rica – well, a week is almost never enough time for me to see, experience and photograph all there is in these natural wonders! First priority at El Silencio Lodge & Reserve was waterfalls, then birds, butterflies, and on it goes through nature! Today’s collection is some of those little things like an ear-shaped lichen or a fiddlehead – the furled fronds of a young fern that were the inspiration of some of the colorful Oxcart designs used in this lodge and on the famous Oxcarts of Costa Rica. Enjoy a slide show of those and 23 other designs from nature . . .

Lichens, Leaves & Nature Things!

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. —John Lubbock

¡Pura Vida!

All of my Photo Galleries are Nature-related in Charlie Doggett’s COSTA RICA.

and I’m finished with the new Trip Gallery: El Silencio Lodge & Reserve or perhaps you would prefer to zero in on my Costa Rica FLORA & FOREST Gallery. ¡Buenas Dias!

¡Pura Vida!

Costa Rica Pioneer Woman Dies of COVID-19 in AL

The first wife of a 3-time president of Costa Rica, José Figueres Ferrer, Henrietta Boggs, died this week of the dreaded Coronavirus in Alabama at the age of 102. She had a bigger Costa Rica Adventure than me, becoming the First Lady of Costa Rica and a primary leader to get voting privileges for both women and blacks in Costa Rica. Read about this remarkable woman in this New York Times Article. And thanks to Larry for sharing it with me!

¡Pura Vida!

Walking Among Miracles!

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.” – Mary Davis

Just a few shots of walking around El Silencio Lodge & Reserve, Bajos del Toro Amarillo, Costa Rica.

By discovering nature, you discover yourself. ~Maxime Lagacé

¡Pura Vida!

See my other Costa Rica Vistas and/or my 2020 El Silencio Trip Gallery.

Bajos del Toro Waterfall

This was my waterfall for today and the biggest of the week. If you go to their website Catarata del Toro you can tell that it is commercial and on private property with all of their “biggest and best” claims. The same people own the property that yesterday’s Las Gemelas Waterfall is own. So of course you pay admission to each.

Bajos del Toro sits in the shadow of Poas Volcano, next to the Poas Volcano National Park, Juan Castro Blanco National Park, and the Bosque de Paz Rain/Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Outdoor activities abound with rugged trail systems to explore the forest’s flora and fauna.

This is beautiful wilderness area and today’s guide, Daniel, another great new friend and excellent guide has done a cross country hike with friends over this trail-less wilderness using machetes to blaze their way through. There are plans to build trails connecting the two national parks and Bajos del Toro.

There were two of us from El Silencio Lodge to go with Daniel on this waterfall hike. I chose not to walk the 400 steep steps down to the bottom of falls, but the Tica young lady guest did walk down while I walked through the hummingbird garden. I do most of the things younger people do, but not all now! 🙂

For you history enthusiasts, the full name of the town and the waterfall is Bajos del Toro Amarillo, translated literally as “Low place (valley) of the Yellow Bull” and the story is that when the first settlers came it they saw a yellow bull that later historians say was actually a bison that did populate parts of Central America in the early 1800’s. It is always fun to get the history behind some of these place names. 🙂

I did my guided bird hike before breakfast this morning also with Daniel but have barely started sorting bird pictures. But with this morning hike + my solo hike in the Hummingbird Garden here + a noon-time experience I will be recording 3 lifer birds or 3 that are new to me. Not bad! 🙂

Today’s waterfall hike slide show:

And this is one more added to my CR Waterfalls Gallery.

Or see THIS TRIP GALLERY: 2020 El Silencio Lodge & Reserve.

¡Pura Vida!

Las Gemelas Waterfall

Okay, for you Spanish readers, yes, that says “The Twins” Waterfall and thus you may ask, “Where is the second one?” Well . . . sometimes my better judgement overrules my sense of adventure. We had already hiked about 4 km and waded across the ice cold, rock-strewn river with Bryan, my personal guide, helping me wade across the slippery rocks just to get this photo of the biggest of the twins. To see the other one we would have had to wade up a separate stream of slippery rocks to the left of the bottom of this falls maybe 50 meters. Bryan had already said “I can’t believe I’m helping an 80 year old do this hike!” He was doubting the wisdom of going further and after nearly slipping down more than once. I did too! But I was thankful that I could make the hike solo with my excellent young masked guide who was perfect for me in every way! Most of the holiday weekend crowd have gone. We have a max of 9 guests the rest of the week, so very tranquilo! Which I prefer! 🙂 And yes, I love this place! Already another favorite and I have so many favorites in Costa Rica. Here’s just a few shots of the Las Gemelas Falls Hike and notice that weird V-shaped bridge over one of the streams, like none I’ve seen before:

See my Waterfalls Gallery for more Costa Rica Waterfalls.

Or see THIS TRIP GALLERY: 2020 El Silencio Lodge & Reserve.

¡Pura Vida!

On the trail to the waterfall this sign was laying on the ground. My guide said that the biggest danger is sudden flash floods when there is a rainstorm in the mountains above.