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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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!

 

A Day in Corcovado National Park

These are the general or scenery photos. For the main events see my photo galleries on Corcovado  Birds   –   Other Wildlife   –   Los Patos Waterfall

 

The Lodge converted a farmer’s tractor & trailer for hikers/tourists 
This took us the 6 km from lodge to ranger station where others must hike along river
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

Rio Rincon or the Rincon River 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

I was the old man traveling with two young couples from Europe
as here, we sometimes drove in the river bed.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

And about 15-20 times we forded the river
When walking or riding a tractor, it is slow, even 6 km!
Plus we stopped for birds a few times, so an hour or so each way on tractor.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

River is park border, thus one side is private property like this house above.
When I got back I was showing the waiter/bartender David Venegas these photos and
he said, “Oh! That is my grandfather’s house!” Small little world down here!
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

This young man couldn’t use his bike along river but was headed to the graded gravel road 
And note the machete strapped to his side, a basic tool all over Costa Rica!
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

We finally leave the river and enter the woods to the ranger station. 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

At our hiking trail entrance near the ranger station 
After we registered and signed in at the station, we hike rest of the day.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

“Velcro Plant” is what Jairo called it!
See next photo for why.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

School children cut pieces of the “Velcro Plant” leaves and stick on their shirts to make lots of images!
 Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

We are quickly in a thick virgen forest.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

There are still plants here not identified. 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

More species in this park than in any other one place in the world! 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

I want to photograph everything I see – but simply can’t! 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

“Monkey  Brush” 
Jairo explains how monkeys use this fruit/seed of a tree to brush insects out of their fur.
Then one of our two girls demonstrated by brushing her hair. Incredibly good brush!
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

We stopped to see this “Stink Flower” 
which smelled awful! Like a dead animal!
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

And here Jairo collects some “Red Beans” 
He gave each of us 3 of the red beans or seeds and said
that tradition is they will bring us good luck if carried in pocket.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

Meanwhile David is looking for birds & found many! 
See the trip Birds Gallery for some I photographed.
And the trip’s Other Wildlife Gallery for other animals
photographed both in the park and at the lodge nearby.
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

Passion Flower as one of many wildflowers seen 
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

 

About 4pm we were back to ranger station and on slow tractor drive back to lodge by around 5pm
Los Patos Ranger Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

This was just a brief overview of an all day hike that included the beautiful waterfall in a separate post yesterday and many birds and other animals shown earlier. Corcovado is truly an incredible place! See the bigger picture through my TRIP Gallery 2018 March 13-17 – Danta Corcovado.

 
 
Note that this trip was on the northeast side of park labeled “Los Patos.”
My trip last year was in northwest corner labeled “San Pedrillo” near Drake Bay.
And in 2009 I visited the south side of park at “La Leona.”
 
 
 
¡Pura Vida!

Los Patos Waterfall

Our hiking lunch break was at this beautiful waterfall!
Los Patos Waterfall
Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

David and I Ate Our Sack Lunches Immediately! 
 Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

While this Swiss couple were anxious to get into the water!
 
Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Actually the German guy was first to dive into the water, while his girlfriend ate first.
 
Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

And here is my guide David Vargas diving in off the big rock (a belly buster!)
 
Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

First one girl and the other in next photo diving in
 
Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Sorry I didn’t get the names of the two couples, the German couple here
 
Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

And before we knew it, time to dress and head back up the steep trail!

I had to make a portrait of my excellent birding guide David Vargas first!
 
Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

And I think Jairo made this shot on David’s cell phone camera which he posted on Facebook. 
Since I’m a birder and the two Euro couples are not, Jairo assigned David to me as the birding guide.
 Los Patos Waterfall, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
I have hiked into Corcovado National Park three times now and this was the best! Both Jairo and David made it so as well as it being an excellent wilderness with fewer visitors. It was more difficult to hike with lots of steep hills or ups and downs which they say is the meaning of the Spanish word “Corcovado,”  –  “up and down”  though my online dictionary just translated it “hunchbacked” which is maybe a harsher version of the same thing?  🙂  My other two visits to this park were both on flat land near the ocean, La Leona and San Pedrillo and with different trees, plants and animals, though I saw more here – giving credit to Jairo and David. See the three locations on the map below.
I made a lot of other photos on this one all day hike, so check out the different category sub-galleries like birds, other wildlife and general Corcovado folder in my TRIP Gallery: 2018 March 13-17 – Danta Corcovado for a lot of fun images from this great wilderness.
Only one more Ranger Station I can visit – Sirena.  It is illegal to enter at any other point.
And Sirena requires a very long & difficult hike or boat or seaplane trip. Maybe someday!
Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
¡Pura Vida!
I love this place!

More Corcovado Wildlife

Jewel bug or Metallic shield bug (Scutelleridae) 
 Los Patos Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Central American Spider Monkey 
 Los Patos Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Unknown Insect
 
Los Patos Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Red-tailed Squirrel
 
Los Patos Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Isabella Tiger Butterfly
 
Los Patos Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Ant Bridge 
They create a bridge of ant bodies for others to walk over.
 Los Patos Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Golden Orb Spider
 
Los Patos Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Active Termite Nest
 
Los Patos Station, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
I have already done a post of other non-bird animals seen on the Night Hike (better photos!). And of course you can see all of them together in my TRIP Gallery: 2018 March – Danta Corcovado.

¡Pura Vida!

Corcovado Park Birds

Less than half of what we saw, not counting those at the lodge, but 20 photos is a big post!

Arranged in order found in book The Birds of Costa Rica, A Field Guide
which puts families & similar birds together.
Neotropical Cormorant
Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

White Ibis 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Lesser Yellowlegs 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Common Black Hawk 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Laughing Falcon 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Laughing Falcon 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Scarlet Macaws
 
Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Red-lored Parrot
 
Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Baird’s Trogon male guarding nest 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Baird’s Trogon female feeding babies in nest 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Slaty-tailed Trogon 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Amazon Kingfisher 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Golden-naped Woodpecker 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Common Tody Flycatcher 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Tropical Kingbird 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Blue-crowned Manakin 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Red-capped Manakin 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Cherrie’s Tanager male 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Black-striped Sparrow 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Great-tailed Grackle female 
 Los Patos, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
This is my third time and third part of the park to hike into and the best experience yet with the most birds and other sights. And it is a less-visited part of the park I think, which helps make it better! 
Note that my sightings/photos here of the Blue-crowned Manakin and the Red-capped Manakin are first time for each or “lifer” birds for me. (LIFER: A bird species when it is first seen and positively identified by an individual birder, a species that birder has never seen previously.) But he red-capped manakin was not doing his “Michael Jackson dance” that you may have seen on nature TV to attract females.

For what it is worth, other “lifers” on this trip at the lodge were the White-shouldered Tanager and the Scarlet-rumped Cacique. I shared photos of these and a few others seen at the lodge on my March 14 Post: Birds Seen Wednesday. And of course all will soon be in my online bird gallery and the TRIP Gallery 2018 March 13-17: Danta Corcovado. 

And oh yes, “Los Patos” is the name of this area of the park and name of the Ranger Station we had to go through and register for the visit. Real “backwoods” area not close to anything or any town. I just visited one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet and possibly the most! I will never tire of visiting Corcovado. More photos tomorrow! 

¡Pura Vida!

Too Tired to Report on Biggest Adventure

Tractor Cart takes 5 of us and two guides into one of the wildest of parks.
It was all day with two “lifer” birds and swimming at a waterfall.
Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Possibly my best park visit yet and with two of my favorite guides and two lovely couples, one from Switzerland and one from Germany. And all six young people doted on this old man. But I just finished dinner and too tired to sort and label nearly 1,000 photos, so the report might get spread over the next few days. I’m exhausted and off to bed at 8:00! And tomorrow I return to Atenas, so it could take awhile. 

¡Wow!   ¡This place is great!

Jungle Camping Tomorrow

Tomorrow (Tuesday) morning early I fly to Puerto Jimenez with a ride into the jungles alongside Corcovado National Park for 4 nights. My most primitive stay in the park yet at Danta Corcovado Lodge.

Corcovado is the largest protected coastal rainforest in Central America
Danta Corcovado Lodge, Costa Rica

My Room is basically a wall tent on platform with mosquito netting on bed.
Danta Corcovado Lodge, Costa Rica

Lobby and Dining Room feature rustic furniture
and I will eat lots of beans & rice, other basic Tico food
Danta Corcovado Lodge, Costa Rica

Hope I get this close to an Anteater! And maybe a Tapir!
Danta Corcovado Lodge, Costa Rica

Night Hike promises frogs, snakes, insects & surprises!
Danta Corcovado Lodge, Costa Rica

It is one of the few places for the endangered Squirrel Monkey
Danta Corcovado Lodge, Costa Rica

My days will be filled with hiking on the lodge trails on my own, and tours with professional guides

for a birding hike, interior of park hike, kayaking a river, a night hike, and possibly a visit to an indigenous people village, panning for gold, or I might even be ziplining above the forest. This could be one of my most adventurous trips since moving here. All of the above photos were copied from the internet, but I hope to return with many more of my own! They are suppose to have wifi in the lobby, but I doubt it will be strong enough for regular nightly posts. We will see! I had scheduled 5 nights, but this afternoon, Monday, Sansa Airlines canceled the Sunday flight, so I now come back Saturday evening. Adventure is good! said Aesop

Read about the place at http://www.dantalodge.com/
-o-

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
-Mark Twain
Retired in Costa Rica
¡Pura Vida!

Corcovado! THE BOOK

A 100 page book with 84 photos form two visits to Corcovado.
 CLICK the image or this to preview the book on Blurb.com.

Note that I set up the softcover book with “standard paper” which makes it a little cheaper, but the hardcover is set up with a higher quality paper for better photos. Sorry they are so expensive, but most “print on demand” self-publishing is, since they often print just one book at a time. And see my Facebook page for how you can make and order your first book with Blurb at 30% off.

See also my trip gallery on the recent Drake Bay Trip  for some of the same photos and

For the 2009 Corcovado Trip, click for my old Pbase gallery which includes photos from that visit to Corcovado along with my first visit to the cloud forest of San Gerado de Dota.