At Home in the Mountains

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…”       ~John Muir

 

Panorama photo of the hills of Atenas from my terrace in Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica, by Charlie Doggett. For more see my Vistas photo gallery.

 

¡Pura Vida!

Birding Near El Copal

Enroute to El Copal area we passed this vista or mirador of Reventazón River below the clouds.
Most of the rivers around Orosi and Tapanti flow into this which flows into the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean.
Today was kind of like hiking through “Middle Earth” in The Lord of the Rings. As much of Costa Rica is!  🙂
Reventazón River, Costa Rica

We went further away today and did more mountain walking for a longer time, so I am quite tired! For those who know the area, El Copal is a famous private reserve in these mountains the other side of Tapanti where we were yesterday. The reserve takes visitors on a limited reservations system and they were not even open today, so we did not go inside the private reserve. But we birded all around it and saw about as much as I can handle in one day!  🙂   There is a rustic lodge in El Copal and in the future I will schedule a 4 or 5 day visit there with Cristhian. And yes, that is how he spells his name which I spelled wrong yesterday. I have two friends in Atenas who spell it Cristian, but in this culture (or language) they never spell the name Christian which would be considered English.

We drove and walked on dirt roads through the jungles of this mountain area in south-central Costa Rica most of today. Quite an experience! I just love it here! We even walked by Cristhian’s hermit uncle’s little cabin in the woods. Cool! There is so much to explore in Costa Rica!   🙂
Tomorrow I explore some more of Orosi with the old colonial church ruins expected to be the highlight and the Orosi Mirador.

¡Pura Vida!

An unusual jungle flower today. Click to enlarge.

Orosi Valley Tomorrow

Orosi Valley

Note to those who get this blog by email (about 50 of you) that each post is emailed out at about 2AM in the morning automatically by a computer after the day I post it. So I am doing this for Monday posting and you receiving Tuesday morning while I am traveling by bus from Atenas through San Jose and Cartago to the little village of Orosi in the Orosi Valley next to Tapanti National Park. Here is the link to my Google Search on


Of course I plan on photographing birds in the Tapanti National Park and at the B&B grounds plus maybe other locations like El Copal depending on transportation options. Then there are the ruins of the oldest colonial church in Costa Rica there plus the current Orosi Church is the oldest still-functioning church in Costa Rica. There are supposedly good restaurants in Orosi, a botanical gardens, waterfalls, and other sites that will be surprises for me when I get there!  🙂   So the next few days should have posts of what I am seeing daily there, assuming I have internet connection. This is a whole new area of Costa Rica for me to explore and I understand another popular place for retirement.
¡Pura Vida!
Retired in Costa Rica


A Bonus Note:
COSTA RICA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
And if anyone noticed that we had our presidential election (1st round) Sunday past, Two of the many candidates made it to the runoff election which will be on Easter Sunday this year, meaning no special events beyond mass and worship services allowed like the usual Catholic Processional Parade through town. No competition to voting, yet even with that only about 60% actually voted. Democracy is difficult to make work everywhere, but I think 60% is probably much higher than the U.S. voter turnout. 
And those two winners? Well the older and most “conservative” is Fabricio Alvarado, an evangelist and gospel singer who is a non-politician and surprise winner because he is rabidly anti-gay during a time that most Latin-American countries are starting to legalize gay marriage. This mostly Roman Catholic country is generally homophobic and that is the only reason this unqualified Trump-like jerk was selected. Amusingly, the other candidate in the runoff is also named Alvarado, Carlos Alvarado, a young man who will accept gay marriage and some other liberal ideas. This morning’s newspaper headline was something like “Two Alvarados in Runoff!”

And here’s today’s article in one of our online English Language Newspapers titled:
Evangelical Candidate Leads, Country Heads to a Second Round  This is really a big deal in a majority catholic country! 

It will be interesting to see what happens. (If I were a gambling man, I would say homophobia wins here and thus the unqualified evangelical.) But if much of the younger generation, like my Spanish teachers, get their young friends out to vote, it could go the other way, plus some catholics will have trouble voting for a non-catholic. No one really needs a singing evangelist as their president even if you don’t like gay marriage – that could be almost as bad as having Donald Trump! (Though thank God there is no racism here! But homophobia is alive and well!)
I STAY OUT OF POLITICS HERE AND OF COURSE CAN’T VOTE. 
Why can’t I vote? I’m a legal resident but not a citizen which is a much more complicated process and at my age – not a goal! And “Not my problem!” is another way I stay sane and tranquil!   🙂

Hillside Vista

On a walk over my hill today, not quite to the top, a different view.
Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

Click image for larger view.

And see my photo gallery of Vistas in Costa Rica & neighboring countries.
¡Pura Vida!

A Country Adventure in My Front Yard – Calle Nuevo

A pastoral vista like this sometimes requires a trip far away from a busy town, yet I found this one
maybe 500 meters from my house as the crow flies and maybe twice as far walking the streets to this spot.
Calle Nuevo, Atenas Costa Rica

The cow pasture across the street from my house.
A stream runs under that row of trees on opposite side.
On the other side of the stream and to the left is a little known street,
Calle Nuevo, Atenas Costa Rica

First I walk into town on Avenida 8 and turn left on Calle 1
making another left turn at next street, Avenida 10 for 2 blocks
where I walk past our technical high school above.
The pavement stops just past the school  and I’m on a gravel road called
Calle Nuevo, Atenas Costa Rica

It is so cool to suddenly be in the country! Past Roca Verde it becomes a dirt road going on to Rio Grande village.
Calle Nuevo, Atenas Costa Rica

After 200 or 300 meters on a rise you see Roca Verde up ahead, those roofs.
Before I saw this, I saw the pastoral scene photo above, my opening photo.
Calle Nuevo, Atenas Costa Rica

Then down that hill to a bridge behind the Roca Verde duplex facing the pasture.
That house is about one block from my house!
But seen here from behind on
Calle Nuevo, Atenas Costa Rica

The little stream opposite the cow pasture in front of my house.
Which the above bridge crosses over behind the duplex.
Calle Nuevo, Atenas Costa Rica

At the foot of the bridge I snap this shot of the cow pasture in front of my house from the backside.
The duplex and two single family houses are to the right of those shrubs, all facing the cow pasture.
Calle Nuevo, Atenas, Costa Rica
It is fun to discover back roads anywhere and especially when they are this close to where you live! Eventually I will walk the entire road to the village of Rio Grande which is at the intersection of our Radial Atenas (Calle 0) and entrance to Ruta 27, the expressway that comes by Atenas. The day I walked this road (New Years Day) there were other walkers and several bicycles, so it is already a known recreational “greenway” if you please!  🙂  In the mountains or hills of Atenas.
I walked the road up past several Roca Verde houses and noticed at least 3 had back pedestrian gates into this greenway and even met a couple who walked out of one that they are renting for 6 weeks. I got as far as where the gravel turned to dirt and turned around because it was also uphill. But next time I will try to go all the way to Rio Grande and maybe get a taxi back. I like my newly discovered “greenway” which I had heard of earlier, but just now exploring for the first time. 
It is impossible to overestimate the value of wild mountains 
and mountain temples as places for people to grow in, 
recreation grounds for soul and body. 
–JOHN MUIR, US naturalist, 1838—1914

 See the Photo Gallery Walking Calle nueva

Meadow Haiku

Cellphone shot in Roca Verde Neighborhood, Atenas, Costa Rica

This is the view that a few houses up the hill from me have. It is one of the views I have when I walk the kilometer circle through my neighborhood. Peaceful and rural.

My photo gallery of Vistas

My photo gallery of Haiku

“Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.
~John Ruskin

San Ramon, Costa Rica

This is the second post for today, Saturday, about the town separate from the healthcare tour.

San Ramon is higher in the mountains than Atenas, meaning
it gets much colder and rains more. It rained this morning & in 50’s.

San Ramon’s beautiful Catholic Church facing the Central Park,
like every town in Costa Rica.

They also have a boyero or oxcart driver monument like Atenas.
I like our Atenas metal one better. This one is on church grounds.
Like every town’s Central Park, you will find children playing, old people talking,
teens texting, talking or smooching, and a generally happy, tranquil place.
There is a band-shell for musical programs.

San Ramon is quite a bit larger than Atenas with more businesses and traffic, something in-between Atenas and Alajuela. I do not like it as well as Atenas because of the weather (colder and wetter) and the more crowded conditions. They do have a University campus which is a plus and a couple of museums we don’t have, but I think I will stick with my more walkable small town. Both are very “Costa Rica” in nature with wonderfully friendly people. They have a few hundred expats living there where we have over a thousand in and around Atenas.

The other post today about healthcare tour has more photos of San Ramon and yesterday’s short post has photo of tour group in front of Mural on La Posada Hotel where I stayed.

“I look up to the mountains”

Dinnertime view from my terrace reminds me of the mountains Psalm . . .

Psalm 121The Message (MSG)

A Pilgrim Song

121 1-2 I look up to the mountains;
    does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
    who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
. . . . . . .     



 
7-8 God guards you from every evil,
    he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
    he guards you now, he guards you always.

. . . . . . . . .
Tomorrow night (Tues) I will give you a report on my physical and cardiologist visit which is in the morning. (I’m writing/posting this Monday night.)  Pura Vida!   -Charlie