Just a few sample shots of the beautiful cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica which I’m sorry I did not pay more attention to in my photography this past week. Every tree is a beautiful work of art and some are old growth or a part of an ancient virgin forest. I was particularly surprised to see how close we were to Arenal Volcano and what a beautiful view we had from the continental divide in Santa Elena Reserve shown above in the feature photo. I plan to go back to Arenal in November! So many beautiful places of nature here!
Monteverde Forests & Vistas
An Unusual Tree that Got My Attention in Curi Cancha
Arenal Volcano Seen from Santa Elena
Looking Down on Forest from a Hanging Bridge, Selvatura
An Old Growth Ficus Tree in Monteverde Reserve
Forest Trail in Selvatura
My Guide Rodiber Finding Tree Information
Another Vista from Santa Elena
Selvatura Tree Tops Hanging Bridge
Cloud forest is quite different from lowland tropical rain forest. The name comes from the observation that the forests are nearly always shrouded in clouds. These forests are situated at high altitude along the continental divide down the spine of Costa Rica. As the warm moist air from over the Pacific or Caribbean is pushed up the sides of the mountains, it cools, and the moisture begins to condense forming clouds. ~Costa Rica Guide, https://costa-rica-guide.com/nature/refuges/monteverde-cloud-forest-reserve/
I just realized that I have started to repeat some photos, so this will be all of my reports on a wonderful week in Monteverde. My “Trip Gallery” will be coming to my online photo gallery soon at 2019 April 7-13 — Monteverde Lodge & Gardens – just need a few more days for that and then “The Book,” my first on Monteverde even though I was there one other time. Watch my Bookstore for the Monteverde photo book! This trip alone yielded photos of 44 species of birds!
And check out some of my other trips in theCosta Rica TripsPhoto Gallery! Almost every location is as beautiful and exciting as this one.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science
— Albert Einstein
I felt the wind move across my face and arm, knowing nature’s way of showing its power and sensitivity would soon end – then a Yigüirro (Clay-colored Thrush) sang its beautiful song that Costa Rica custom says calls in April and May rains that will replace the wind and dryness of our summer. I look forward to the “Green Season” and the freshness my explorations will bring – experiencing the mysterious in Costa Rica.
One section of my photo gallery was recently added as Pre-Costa Rica Travel. I am slowly adding one trip at a time until it is finished, starting with my Latin American travels since that is where I live now. 🙂
But one couple living in snowy New Hampshire just left their winter visit to Atenas to return home until their trip next January which will be longer or two months next year. They are not sure yet about retiring here, but wrote to say that my blog keeps them looking forward to their annual trek here.
Well, their message reminded me of my only trip to New Hampshire which was a fall color photography trip in 2004. including lots of vistas and 22 covered bridges along with many of my other interests! So I just got motivated (by new friends) and added this photo gallery ahead of schedule with some of my favorite fall color shots. See this “New” old travel gallery now included here – CLICK Linked Title Below:
A part of the joy of being “Retired in Costa Rica” is occasionally remembering old times and places which is something my photography and Gallery provide, along with the personal pages of my Blog/Website on the top menu above (still being developed). And of course I continue my regular reports on Costa Rica! 🙂 My first love now!
“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
― Karl Lagerfeld
Playa Mantas (1st slideshow) is the beach closest to my room with two pools (adult & kids), separate bar and restaurant, discoteque, party room, game room, lots of organized recreation and extras like yoga on the beach. It is a light brown sand beach with palm trees along the edge and an easy walk for most of the hotel rooms.
Playa Blanca (2nd slideshow) is a strenuous 3+ km walk over a steep hill, though a shuttle bus comes and goes about every 30 minutes until 5 PM for those who need white sand. It likewise has a restaurant and bar plus a huge area of concrete picnic tables if you want to bring your own food and drinks (while Mantas has only restaurant & bar for food). I was not aware of any organized recreation activities at Playa Blanca and no swimming pool. This “just a beach” closes at 5:00 PM.
I made the hard walk over the mountain to Playa Blanca but after a burger lunch I took the shuttle bus back! 🙂 No particular preference for me except that Mantas is closer and has more services/activities, though both have lifeguards. Both have the same shore birds for me. 🙂 And I guess you know that the word “playa” is Spanish for “beach.” I don’t swim in the ocean or surfboard, but I love walking on beaches and photographing them and their birds, especially at sunset or sunrise.
Psalm 19 The Message (MSG) A David Psalm
19 1-2 God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.
3-4 Their words aren’t heard,
their voices aren’t recorded,
But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.
4-5 God makes a huge dome
for the sun—a superdome!
The morning sun’s a new husband
leaping from his honeymoon bed,
The daybreaking sun an athlete
racing to the tape.
6 That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies
from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts,
warming hearts to faith.
7-9 The revelation of God is whole
and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.
The life-maps of God are right,
showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain
and easy on the eyes. God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,
with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate
down to the nth degree.
10 God’s Word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.
11-14 There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger
and directs us to hidden treasure. Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth;
these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them
on the morning altar, O God, my Altar-Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar.
(Emphasis is mine.) Sharing what struck me in my devotional reading 3 mornings ago as I read this Psalm. And really, everything in nature has God speaking to me whether in a Bible passage or a famous quotation or not. I am in closer harmony with God in the natural places of Costa Rica than anywhere I’ve been before – like an anteroom to Heaven! 🙂 No predictions intended, but I’m ready! 🙂 Being close to nature is one of my ideas of heaven!
Yesterday afternoon before I got ready to leave for dinner and write last night’s blog post I had a family of Mantled Howler Monkeys visit my treehouse – browsing for nuts and possibly other food in the trees on two sides of the tree house which is built around an almond tree. Here are a few photos I managed to get before leaving. Photographing up in the treetops is not as easy as you might think because of many limbs, leaves and shadows all around through which one must photograph, seldom getting a clear view of a monkey or bird! But here’s my effort! Click an image to enlarge it.
One favorite photo from each month of 2018 – And I had trouble picking just one! Thus the header photo above is an extra one from October and the only one here from Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, Piedras Blancas National Park, my #1 lodge this year.
Wow! This was too hard to do! My very best photos were probably all in 3 or 4 months, so I will try something different next year, like maybe my top 5 or so favorite photos. I think I will also try to rank the hotels/lodges/parks I visited this year.
Ranking My Top 7 Lodges in 2018
I rank for all aspects of the lodge for a birder and/or nature lover, not necessarily in this order: number of birds and other wildlife seen, quality of guides, quality of overall service, restfulness of room, quality meals, overall ecology consciousness and sometimes the extra services, depending on the place and situation. My 2018 Top 7 lodges and hotels in order of my preference or enjoyment:
My prayers go to the Bush Family in their loss . . .
. . . a truly great & humble man!
George H. W. Bush
Humility is not thinking less of yourself,
it’s thinking of yourself less.
~C. S. Lewis
REPORT ON MY BIOPSY: After removing the 10 stitches from my arm (where all that cancer was confirmed removed) and the two stitches from my face for the biopsy, Dr. Gamboa gave me the facial biopsy report:
In brief, it says I have another carcinoma cancer on my face which is a smaller and slower growing type than the one on my arm. No problem waiting until January to remove the rest of it (the biopsy took most of it). Because of the delicate and thinner skin location next to my eye, we will be doing a more complicated and more efficient (more expensive) “Mohs Surgery” with two doctors doing it with a pathologist standing by to make sure they get all of the cancer as he examines each layer as removed (continuous biopsy). It will not be in his office this time but in a clinic, hospital-like, operating room, but still out-patient. He is checking on availability of other doctor and the clinic for the week of 21 January – after my Boca Tapada trip. Remember — the doctors work around my trips! 🙂 Important! That is where I sleep in a tree house 5 nights!
Dr. Gamboa also “PRESCRIBED” wearing a wide-brim hat instead of the ball caps I’ve been wearing and of course sunscreen every day when out. I sure love sunny Costa Rica, just 673 miles north of the equator, but with the value of the sun also comes with some potential dangers for someone like me who loves the outdoors. I have already become more careful, even though the doc says these current growths and cancers were probably caused by sun I got as a child or teen, more sun now can make it worse, so I must be cautious.
On the hill above my little casita are blooming some brilliant orange African Tulip Trees (an immigrant or invasive species?) and above those the ever-present pink-to-purple bougainvillea which I see here through the limbs of my Guarumo or Cecropia tree. Having “colorful neighbors” can be a plus! And colorful flowers add to my happiness! 🙂
Just living is not enough…
one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
~Hans Christian Andersen
Flowers help boost happiness and I was just introduced to a new website that you might want to check out: Garden & Happyfor a little boost in your happiness, try gardening! 🙂