Friday morning I did my birding hike with guide Carlos and after breakfast he offered to take me to the King Louie Waterfall which said could take me all day hiking, so off we went on a golf cart by the roads, not the trails! When we got there the only marked trail is to get in the creek and hike over slippery rocks up hill to the waterfall. But, he said, someone made a land trail along the side of the mountain that would be easier! Not! Someone took a pick and chiseled out a very narrow path that was all crumbling rock or sand. With every step, part of the trail would slide down the side of the mountain and almost me several times. We finally gave up before we go all the way to the 100 foot waterfall. So goes life sometimes! 🙂
This morning was to be my last “organized hike,” called the Primary Forest, led by scientist Phillip who did last night’s night hike, scheduled for 8-11. At 8 one of the employees came out and apologized that Phillip called in sick and that the hike was canceled for today. “No problem,” I said, “I wanted to go down the Pacific Trail and low tide is this morning, just right!” The guy in charge asked me to wait a minute. He made a call and then said he would be right back. He came with one of the gardeners with a name that sounded like Aniavey, and said, “Now you can practice your Spanish!” 🙂 The Nicaraguan was wearing a sheathed machete. The guy in charge said, “I simply cannot let you go down that trail alone, especially all the way to the waterfall! After you go down the very steep trail, it’s another mile hike including up another hill. I did not get incensed and thanked him for his concern, still not knowing what I was in for. And thinking I didn’t really need help. 🙂
Wow! It was a steep trail with 500 steps carved into the side of the mountain and in moments my knees and legs were killing me. About halfway down or a little more, my knees gave way and I crumpled to the ground. My helper came to my rescue, helping me up and I sat on one of the steps. He took his machete out, going into the forest to cut a little sapling for a brand new hiking stick and I was soon ready to go, just slowly. But I had already decided I would go only to the beach and not all the way to the waterfall, which relieved Aniavey. And by the way, the return trip back up the hill, all 500 steps, was much easier on my knees and legs, just slowing my breathing! 🙂 On the hike we saw 3 kind of monkeys: Howler, White-faced Capuchin and Spider Monkeys!
Here’ s 4 shots and I don’t know why I didn’t photograph the trail or steps?
I got here in time to dump my stuff in my cabin before a delicious lunch that I was able to eat all of! Yay! 🙂 It’s overcast with some scattered showers but I explored the trails a little and scheduled 4 activities this week with the rest of time exploring on my own! And the 4? Well, boring old-man activities compared to some available here: Morning & Afternoon Birding hikes in 2 totally different locations, a sunset/night hike looking for night creatures, and a morning Primary Rainforest 3-hour conservation hike. The rest of the week is photographing a lot, resting, and finally eating real food for a week! My radiation taste is not totally gone, but greatly improved and I’m eating just about everything now! 🙂
I’ve seen a Crested Caracara (on the road here), and here: lots of Scarlet Macaws, lots of little birds not identified and a family of Spider Monkeys, all by my thatched roof cabin. And I’m looking forward to happy hour snacks before a great dinner. There are about 25 tourists in this lodge (from all over the world including children), which is not bad with Covid still raging around the globe! And it is a 45 minute drive (fording streams) from the primitive landing strip in Puerto Jiménez to the lodge or if you must, an 8-hour+ drive from the San Jose Airport.
On January 5, 2020 I did a Blog Post 2020 Ranking of My Birding Lodges, which is now out of date and it even included Nicaragua and Panama lodges, where today’s is only Costa Rica and I have included the multiple trips to places I repeat with each bird count, but only those with 10 or more birds photographed by me. Even on eBird I count only the ones I get a photo of. These are from my birding visits since 2015, my first year living in Costa Rica.
The Feature Photo at top is my Treehouse Room at Maquenque Lodge, Boca Tapada.
And the 2021 Rankings by number of species are . . .
Mostly my real time journal and blog posts plus photos and other information that is meant to be inspirational for someone else going through cancer, especially my specific Parotid Tumor Cancer with 68 pages and 87 photos, including a few of my nature posts during that time. 🙂
I also emphasize the value of nature in healing for me. And the title “True Grit” is explained in the book and on back cover, kind of funny! 🙂
It was cloudy before the rain (better for my radiation-damaged skin) but I could see, hear and smell the rain coming. Soon after I was back from my “Country Lane” Walk, our afternoon shower started which has become regular now, meaning that the rainy season has really started, after severa false-starts. 🙂 The above feature photo is from my terrace with rain in the hills behind Atenas Centro and soon it came all over. I never tire of trying to make a photo of those hills which are never the same. This one is a 4-shot panorama.
Final for this trip or purpose here, but I will be back! Everyone who lives in the country has to go to the big city sometimes. 🙂
And because nature walks have helped me get through this cancer treatment more than maybe anything else, I chose nature shots from my last couple of days here. And for those who don’t know, today was my last radiation treatment and that is why I can return to Atenas and enjoy the nature there while taking possibly months to recover from the side effects of radiation. I will report on that progress along with the joys of nature in my little coffee farming town of Atenas. Pura vida! And now, MY LAST NATURE SHOTS FROM THIS SAN JOSE TRIP . . .
. . . and so am I, almost! I’m redder or pinker now on my face from the radiation 🙂 and also ripe at the point of being almost finished. Today, Tuesday, I lack only 2 more radiation treatments, meaning I’m finished by noon Thursday! Yay! Starting Thursday afternoon I’m home to stay for at least 5 weeks before I have a trip planned. And hoping I have some taste and swallowing ability back by then (the lodge food is said to be excellent!), though my doc says to not count on the taste totally returning that soon. She says it can take up to 6 months for some people to have it totally but gain it little by little, week by week. Since my radiation was only on the left side of my mouth, maybe I will get it back sooner. Hoping! 🙂
The red berries are on the big tree at the hotel that had been yellow berries for weeks but now red, ripe and ready for the birds and other creatures! The blue or black berries below are in a yard I walk by everyday to and from the clinic and Walter, my driver, says they are sweet and if people can pick them before the birds and animals, they add them to dishes for sweetness or just eat as berries.
Friday and Saturday (after I’ve gone back to Atenas) the hotel is hosting another concert weekend featuring Debi Nova singing on Friday night from the stage in the swimming pool! Since the Ministry of health is not allowing public venue concerts because of Covid, the hotel gets around that by renting rooms with balconies overlooking the swimming pool, priced by quality of view! 🙂 And a max of 4 to a room. The above link on hotel’s site has photos of earlier concerts with people watching from balconies and below is this Friday’s singer Debi Nova . . .
There won’t be a crowd of thousands but a fun experience for a lot of young adults I’m sure and a tiny boost to one of the many hotels suffering from the Pandemic lack of tourists. Below are my photos of the setup as it looked on Thursday and I won’t be here to photograph the concert. 🙂 . . .