A “Like” from the Author

My review of The Adventurer’s Son got a “Like” from the author, Roman Dial. I finished the book and liked it much even if sad. A guess all of us who venture into the wilds realize the dangers but still go because of the great joys! I would have guessed that in Corcovado he most likely would have died from a deadly snake bite and would never have guessed from a tree falling in a storm – but such are the surprises in the wilderness and in life and death. And I’m glad it was not “foul play” from a bad human as some had thought throughout the story. It was an emotional read.

SEE ALSO: NPR Interview of Author: A Father Recounts His Search For The Son Who Vanished In Costa Rican Wilderness  – There is a short written summary and a 37 minute audio at this link.

Father-son in Bhutan

Guess I’ll now go back to a safe and easy Agatha Christie read now!   🙂

 

¡Pura Vida!

“It should be difficult to get lost forever.”

46041442Those were the last words emailed to the parents of Cody Roman Dial as he entered the famous and notorious Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula of south-western Costa Rica on the Pacific coast near the Panama border, July 10, 2014.

I am currently about 85% through the Kindle version of this memoir of the loss of Roman Dial’s son Cody Roman Dial here in Costa Rica the same year I moved here, 2014. It all happened in one of the wildest jungles in Central America, the kind with dangers that attract young men like Cody! From snakes & jaguars to illegal gold miners.

The book is The Adventurer’s Son by Roman Dial, the young man’s father, and it starts slow as a childhood biography of Cody helping you to love the adventurous boy as if you were his parent too. Then later he adds as many details as he had of Cody’s solo adventure hike from Mexico City to South America through Central America as an invincible-feeling 27 year old with enormous experience in the wild since his young childhood, most with his parents or sometimes with just the father, who is a lifetime adventurer, explorer, scientists, college professor and part-time explorer for National Geographic. The young man sort of had a reason to feel invincible in the wild. On his trek he climbed the highest mountain in Mexico, used his Spanish language to relate to locals, did an impossible off-trail hike through the jungles of El Peten, Guatemala and boated through the dangerous La Mosquitia Swamp in Honduras before coming to Costa Rica. All of the above were already amazing feats!

Cody Roman Dial
Cody Roman Dial

Because Corcovado National Park is one of my favorite places in Costa Rica that I have visited 3 times now, I was naturally quite interested in the story and the book.

I will not try to summarize the book or write a full review right now (I’m still reading it), here I give links to public information on the book (the above title link is to the Amazon.com source of the book). Below are three reviews. Plus I have added the reports of the father’s search by our local online newspaper Tico Times and some other news media reports below that. Lastly I have added links to the photo galleries of my three visits to this wilderness national park that took Cody’s life.

 

BOOK REVIEWS:  (1) The Washington Post,   (2) Tico Times,   (3) Goodreads,  (4) My Review on Goodreads, 16 March, added after this post published

SEE ALSO: NPR Interview of Author: A Father Recounts His Search For The Son Who Vanished In Costa Rican Wilderness  – There is a short written summary and a 37 minute audio at this link.

Images from News Articles

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The True Story in Real Time by News Media

TICO TIMES CHRONOLOGICAL ARTICLES ON CODY ROMAN DIAL:

July 28, 2014 – Search continues in Costa Rica’s Corcovado National Park for missing US hiker

July 29, 2014 – Red Cross officials suspect missing hiker may be inside gold mining tunnels

August 4, 2014 – Final search underway for US hiker missing in Corcovado National Park    (That is “final” says the CR government agencies.) Not for the father!

August 6, 2014 – Costa Rican gov’t and Red Cross suspend search for US hiker believed missing in Corcovado Nat’l Park

September 17, 2014 – Father of missing hiker hopes to continue search in Panama

May 7, 2016 – Nat Geo mini-series investigates Cody Dial’s disappearance in Corcovado National Park

May 20, 2016 – Human remains in Corcovado could belong to missing US hiker Cody Dial

May 23, 2016 – Missing US hiker Cody Dial’s passport found with human remains in Corcovado National Park

May 27, 2016 – Missing US hiker Cody Dial’s parents submit DNA to investigators

 

Cody Search Map

OTHER CHRONOLOGICAL NEWS ARTICLES ON CODY ROMAN DIAL:

May 23, 2016 – outsideonline.com,  What Happened to Cody Dial? A New Discovery Raises More Questions

December 20, 2016 – Alaska News, Missing Alaska adventurer was killed by falling tree in Costa Rica, his father says

December 21, 2016 – reddit.com, Mystery Solved!

Cody-Belongings Found
Cody’s equipment and passport found with human remains.
Forensic specialists recover remains 2 years later.

There are many more stories online about the mysterious disappearance of Cody Roman Dial and and the ultimate conclusion that he was struck by a tree in a storm and killed in the wilderness of Corcovado National Park, hiking off trail which is against the park rules and hiking without an official guide which is also against the park rules. Sometimes rules are for your own good, but a real adventurer doesn’t always think so.

The book and the live news stories are heartbreaking for parents (I empathize because I’ve lost a child), but this story shows the infrequent yet possible dangers in the wilderness that any adventurer knows are possible. I would personally have thought a poisonous snake more likely there, but even the less likely falling tree is possible, especially in the many storms there.

I remember backpacking solo on Fiery Gizzard Trail in TN with fewer dangers but real dangers anyway. Then one day in 2012 on just a day hike there I stumbled and fell on a rocky mountainous trail and was serious hurt requiring stitches in my head. Maybe a life of adventure is always a gamble to some degree, but many real adventurers feel they must continue the gamble! But, like with so many things for me, I tend to be a moderate, wanting adventure but with more caution than many require, especially the young invencibles!

And yes! I will continue to go to Corcovado National Park (see photos of my 3 visits linked below), but always I go with a guide on an official trail, as tame as that may seem to you Cody’s out there!    🙂    I am basically a risk-adverse adventurer! And yes, that is compromising the very meaning of “adventure,” but I’m an old man who is still alive and still having fun!   🙂

My Comparatively Tame Corcovado Adventures

2018-March-13-17–Danta Corcovado  —  At Los Patos Entrance on above map.

2017 May 1-6 – Drake Bay, Corcovado, Aguila Lodge  —  At San Pedrillo Entrance on above map

2009 January Birding Tour of Costa Rica —  At La Leona Entrance on above map

There are only two other entrances that I have not visited, Sirena & Rio Tigre, but may yet. No planned trips there this year but maybe I go again in 2021.    🙂

 

“Adventure is worthwhile.”    -Aesop

¡Pura Vida!

 

Birds on Tarcoles River

Our trip to the river Thursday yielded more species of birds than any other of my now 9 trips on the Tarcoles River! I got photos of 35 species and know we saw several others, but I only count my photos!   🙂   And this was in less than 2 hours on the river! A good place for birding!

It has been a difficult and rushed job to get the photos ready to post while also getting ready for my trip Sunday to Heredia for Spanish Immersion! I’m only including one shot of each bird in this post, but for more of each bird plus crocs, other wildlife, and other photos, see my “TRIP GALLERY”  2020 Feb 20, Rio Tarcoles Birding Trip for more photos!

CLICK AN IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT

Rio Tarcoles Birds

 

“TRIP GALLERY”  2020 Feb 20, Rio Tarcoles Birding Trip

¡Pura Vida!

Firsts of 2020

IMG_8305-A-WEB
Tropical Kingbird

This bird (above & at right) is a Tropical Kingbird (click name for more about him).   He is the first one photographed on my terrace this year,  at breakfast, January 1, 2020.

-o-

Just three weeks before I visited Tapirus Lodge in Braulio Carrillo National Park Christmas Week, David Attenborough and a BBC film crew visited the same lodge and park! I have trouble keeping up with all his documentaries, but hope I see whatever he filmed there!   🙂   Maybe it is part of his new “Green Planet” Series which is being filmed all over Costa Rica?

-o-

Zarcero Community Band was the first & biggest band in the Atenas Christmas Parade I featured in a December 21 Post and was one of the featured bands in the Rose Parade January 1, 2020!  In different costumes of course! See also my Christmas Parade gallery.

Zarcero-Band-A-WEB
Zarcero Costa Rica Community Band & Dancers performing here in Atenas Christmas Parade, also performed in The Rose Parade, Pasadena, California.

 

And a video of the band in Pasadena’s Rose Parade:

 

Costa Rica – The Happiest People on Earth!

¡Pura Vida!

 

 

Braulio Carrillo Gallery

I finally got all the photos sorted, filtered and labeled for a gallery called:

2019 December 22-28 — Tapirus Lodge, Braulio Carrillo   Click to see

As usual, this park and lodge are different from all the others I have visited in the past – a very good experience indeed! Difficult to compare with not as many birds as many other places I’ve visited, but I got decent photos of the rare and hard to find White-tipped Sicklebill Hummingbird, a “Lifer” for me. Also first time shots of a wild Tapir! So those two alone were worth the trip!   🙂   The lodging and food was below what I’m becoming used to in the many nicer lodges around Costa Rica, but the real rainforest experience makes that minus worth the trip! I recommend it with the alert that it is not a luxury hotel!   🙂

For more information check out the lodge website: Tapirus Lodge

Or the National Park Website:  Braulio Carrillo National Park

Happy CR Quote

¡Pura Vida!

 

2019 in Photos

Someone may remember that for “2018 in Review” I did a “Photo a Month” and decided then that it was not the best way to choose favorite photos – like it or not, the best or “favorite” photos are not evenly divided among 12 months.   🙂

So . . . this year I decided to try my personal favorite photo in each of several categories for 2019 – but yikes! This was not easy either and I really wanted more from the category of Birds, which is what I photograph the most – but this is what you get this year and since I used a different bird on my electronic “Christmas Card” earlier, you got that bird too!   And now I’ve decided to include two photos from my December trip to the rainforest AND there’s another bird!      🙂

I kept adding categories to include more photo! Cheating?    🙂    Here’s my personal favorites (not necessarily best photographically) – photos that mean something special to me in each of 18 categories listed alphabetically:

Airplane Shot

Flying in a small plane out of SJO to another adventure is joy! I flew on 5 of  my 12 trips in 2019. For longer distances it is usually quicker and cheaper than my hired driver and with fun photo-ops! See gallery of all my airplane shots since 2009! Costa Rica from above!   🙂

Amphibian

Red-webbed Tree Frog, Maquenque Eco Lodge & Reserve, Boca Tapada, January 2019. See my gallery on this frog (including one at another lodge) or my total Amphibians Gallery.

Art & Architecture

A worker arriving in the morning at Zephyr Palace,Villa Calletas Hotel, Jaco, July 2019 or maybe find other architecture in my Places & Things Gallery or more art in my People, Fiestas and Art Gallery

Bird

A Pale-billed Woodpecker building a home at Arenal Volcano National Park, Arenal Observatory Lodge, November 2019. See my Costa Rica Birds Gallery.

Butterfly

A Dina Yellow Butterfly at Villa Calletas, Jaco, July 2019. See my CR Butterflies Gallery.

Flower

Orchid at Maquenque Eco Lodge, Boca Tapada, January 2019. And my Flowers Gallery.

Forest Sunrise

Sunrise at Macaw Lodge near Carara National Park, June 2019. See also my Sunrise/Sunset Galleries.

Insect (not a butterfly)

Dragonfly at Macaw Lodge near Carara National Park, June 2019. And my More Insects Gallery.

Jungle Sunset

Cristal Ballena Hotel, Uvita, September 2019. Or see other Sunset galleries.

Monkey

Mantled Howler Monkey, Maquenque Eco Lodge & Reserve, Boca Tapada, January 2019 and shot from my Tree House Room!   🙂   See my CR Howler Monkey Gallery.

Mountainscape

The tip of Arenal Volcano seen From the Continental Divide, Santa Elena Reserve, Monteverde, April 2019 or check out my Vistas Gallery.

Oceanscape

Pacific Coast Mountains near Uvita & Dominical, September 2019 or check out my Vistas Gallery.

Ocean Sunrise

At Banana Azul Hotel, Puerto Viejo, Caribe Sur, August 2019. Or see other Sunrise/Sunset galleries.

Ocean Sunset

Villa Caletas, Jaco, July 2019. Or see other Sunset galleries.

Rainbow

Arenal Observatory Lodge, Arenal Volcano National Park, November 2019 or check out my Vistas Gallery.

Rainforest Animal

Tapir at Tapirus Lodge Costa Rica. See also my Other Wildlife galleries.

 

 

 

 

Rainforest Bird

Sunbittern at Tapirus Lodge, Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica.  See my other photos from earlier in my Sunbittern gallery.

Sloth

Sloth Rescue Center, Cahuita, Caribe Sur, August 2019. Or see my Three-toed Sloth Gallery.

 

Waterfall

Nauyaca Waterfall near Dominical, September 2019 with my Portuguese friends in the photo. See all my Costa Rica Waterfalls Gallery.

 

And yes, I realize that I kind of stretched the landscape category with other “scapes” which I won’t do next year but maybe try for my top 12 favorite photos (17 here) which had I done this year would have been mostly birds. But hopefully these “favorites” will give you an idea of what it is like being Retired in Costa Rica!   🙂   And 2020 will have a lot of great new photos!   🙂  I’m sure!

“As long as I am breathing, in my eyes, I am just beginning.”

~Criss Jami

 

Happy New Year’s Eve!

¡Pura Vida!

 

 

 

Evaluating Rainforest Adventures Lodge

Yes, it is called “Tapirus Lodge” but is owned & operated by “Rainforest Adventures” and even the lodge employees wear Rainforest Adventures shirts and do other jobs within the bigger operation. It is 10 rooms available inside a huge outdoor, nature-oriented rainforest amusement park on the border of Braulio Carrillo National Park, with a second, smaller facility near Jaco Beach on the Pacific side. Most of their business is day visits from nearby hotels including in San Jose plus from cruise ships in Limon on the Atlantic.

Someone responded to one of my blog posts this week with a comment that she was coming to Tapirus Lodge in the next three months and my posts helped her to choose her “tours” or activities but asked for more info. I am copying what I told her earlier today (Sunday) and will then present several slideshows to illustrate what I am saying:

If you love nature you will probably like it very much! Be aware of a few things that are different from what is implied in their lodge website:

(1) It is a tiny room, very basic with non-reliable hot water in the shower. And I had to ask for fresh towels each day the first 2 days until they learned I wanted them daily. So humid that a used towel never dries! There are 10 rooms in 5 buildings (like duplexes).
(2) It rained constantly for the 6 days I was there, day and night, with maybe 3 hours of sunshine one morning. You can still see and do a lot in the rain, but expect it any time of year there. It’s a rainforest!
(3) The food in the restaurant is basic with limited choices, the “tipico” (Costa Rican) breakfast being my favorite. Lunch is a buffet with lots of day visitors not in the lodge including from cruise ships some days. I avoided that and it did not look that appetizing. For dinner there is a choice of chicken, fish or beef with a couple of preparation options. The staff is wonderful! Super nice young waiter (just the one)! No bar, but beers & wines available.
(4) They have one of the longest zip-lines in the country and the longest canopy tram ride which this old man preferred and rode twice! I don’t zip in the rain! 🙂 All of this gives the place the feel of an amusement park, though deeply immersed in nature! Their “Birding Tour” was super good and worth the cost! The room comes with free morning & night nature walks of about an hour each. Great! Don’t miss those!
(5) Their butterfly garden had only one species my week (blue morpho), but the frog and snake exhibits were extensive and the orchid garden limited but nice. Some hiking trails are open for residents and a few require a guide.
(6) The National Park is just 5 km away if you have a car. I did not and the lodge took me in their shuttle bus. Two very nice trails that are easy to hike, even in the rain! 🙂 But I did not see many birds or other wildlife except for one wet sloth. A lady ranger was very helpful there, but you are own your own hiking.

Later I will have a photo gallery posted of my trip and will announce it on the blog.

¡Buen viaje!

 

In short, I prefer more “creature comforts” and gourmet food than I got here, and less rain, but overall it is a great place to experience nature in a rainforest – including the rain!   🙂

 

10 Rooms in 5 Cabins

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Grounds Around the Rooms

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Tourist Attractions

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Birds I Got

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Other Wildlife

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Tapirus Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

And tomorrow will be my annual Photo Review of the Year – 2019 this time!

Seeing Green

A few shots made my first day at Tapirus Lodge, enjoying the many “green things” walking around the lodge. And its a pre-made post for while I am getting settled back in at home in Atenas.

Rainforest Green

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Tapirus Lodge

Costa Rica

¡Pura Vida!

Rainforest Birds +

My second time to ride the canopy tram here and first time in the sunshine! It was better with a few more birds this morning after breakfast, but still difficult to photograph moving birds from a moving gondola! Sorry for not better photos, especially of the tiny Tawny-capped Euphonia!

I also walked around the campus again and down to the river and got two more Sunbittern – the featured photo –  a rare and elusive bird that all birders desire! It was not from the tram!   🙂

I leave tomorrow morning from my different and good rainforest experience. Though difficult to rate, I will try to do so in another post and on TripAdvisor. And . . . oh yeah, of course it is raining again as I type this!  🙂

Today’s Birds

 

Nature from the Tram

 

Tapirus Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

The Park – Braulio Carrillo

Thursday morning was my time to hike one trail and part of another in the national park IN THE RAIN! Which meant no birds but I did get one very wet Sloth and lots of plants & streams which I like! All of the parks are very well maintained here and have a lot of nature to share!   The park website:  Braulio Carrillo. 

Braulio Carrillo Pix

Visiting Braulio Carrillo from

Tapirus Lodge

¡Pura Vida!

Translation of quotation sign in park:

“This land belongs to all Costa Ricans, some have already died, others of us still live, but most are not yet born.”      ~Anonymous