Keel-billed Toucan

Unlike my previous walk up the steep hill above my house, I left my walking stick and took my main camera with the 600mm zoom lens which is needed for both the little birds in the trees and bushes and the toucans who stay in the tops of the trees, thus I got an almost decent photo of this Keel-billed Toucan who hasn’t been back to my garden for maybe 2 years now. It is just pure luck when one poses on an open limb so you can see all of the bird without limbs blocking parts like this; but this one is okay and you can tell what it is! 🙂 You may want to read about the Keel-billed Toucan (eBird description link) or see the many other photos I have made all over Costa Rica in my Keel-billed Toucan Gallery.

Keel-billed Toucan, Atenas, Costa Rica
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WALKING PATHS in My Life Today

Next to maybe “Nature” in general or “Birds” specifically, nothing describes my life of being “Retired in Costa Rica” better than “WALKING!” For seven years now without a car I have learned to get to most needed places on foot; walking to town, to the supermercado or farmacia, to a restaurante; and even better, walking for fun or the discoveries of nature on city sidewalks, my “Country Lane” or “Country Road” walks for photos of birds or other nature and best of all the many wonderful wilderness trails I’ve discovered in national parks and reserves across this beautiful, natural country of Costa Rica. My life here has made experiencing nature and walking (hiking) almost synonymous! The feature photo at top is one of the horizons I experience on “Country Lane” and other paths in Atenas with one of my trip trails below . . .

Titi Trail, Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
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WALKING PATHS of My Adult Life

Had I not married, hiking would have been my avocation or how I spent all my time when not working to pay the bills. 🙂 But that’s not the way my life worked out. So I squeezed in as much as I could, though mostly before marriage and after the divorce with some during marriage, and the memories of all those times among nature are some of the greatest treasures I have. Most of my photography on backpacking trips and day hikes were of the scenery and nature, but I have a few of me on the hiking trails I will show below on the post-email section of the blog, plus even more of hiking groups I either led (most of them) or participated in group hikes. These will be galleries and you can click an image to see its larger full-frame pix and/or a manual slideshow if you wish.

For the 10 years I lived in downtown Nashville I walked nearly every day in Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

The feature photo at top is of my Vasque Hiking Shoes, the best hiking shoes I ever had!

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WALKING PATHS of My Childhood

Walking was as natural as breathing. Everything we did included walking paths! As a child, walking became a natural part of daily life but somehow was never something the family photographed. 🙂 Thank goodness for that street photographer that gave us several shots like this one over those early years in Fort Smith!

1945 Downtown Ft. Smith, AR with Me between Mom & Grandmother, brother Jerry at right.
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WALKING PATHS of My Parents

Like I think nearly all the kids of my generation my Father used to tell us about the long country miles he walked to school in all kinds of weather and indeed his generation were naturally walkers much more than mine, though I walked to school too! Just in a town! 🙂 But of course no photos of him walking. But these two photos of my Mom give a sense of the walking in their age . . .

Mom Walking to School with Cousins & Neighbors Edwin & Harlan Hunt Jr., 1931.
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WALKING PATHS of My Ancestors

MAP By Saioa López, Lucy van Dorp and Garrett Hellenthal – López, S., van Dorp, L., & Hellenthal, G. (2015). Human Dispersal Out of Africa: A Lasting Debate. Evolutionary Bioinformatics Online, 11(Suppl 2), 57–68. http://doi.org/10.4137/EBO.S33489 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4844272/, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50508700

All of us literally walked out of Africa at one time ancestrally and the paths taken greatly affect who each of us are. Because I participated in the National Geographic DNA Genographic Project I got a report on both my Maternal and Paternal paths out of Africa which are greatly different . . .

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WALKING PATHS of My Life

Walking – the main physical activity of my life since around age 1 – purposefully made important in my adult years – and now that I no longer own a car and live surrounded by nature in Costa Rica – WALKING the PATHS of Nature is even more central in my life. The feature photo at top is a hiking trail at the Trogon Lodge, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica, one of many I experience here.

This begins a brief blog post series of just 5 more days on one of the most important things of my life, walking!

The motivation for the series came in part from the book, In Praise of Paths: Walking through Time and Nature, by Torbjørn Ekelund, a Norwegian young man diagnosed with Epilepsy who now walks everywhere and also does cross-country hikes in a bigger way than I’m able to at twice his age! 🙂

I will not copy or repeat the book, but discuss the influence of walking since before my birth through my now car-less retirement in Costa Rica! 🙂

Above: A Walking Path at Xandari Nature Resort, Alajuela, Costa Rica.
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Beachside Rainforest?

Well – It has been and I hope that at least part of it will last! I’ve been coming here for 5 years and it is definitely deteriorating with development and now evidently a landfill somewhere on the peninsula north of the hotel due to truck loads of dirt and rocks and trash headed that way.

The main (only) highway runs parallel to the coast and thus most beaches but Banana Azul is on a peninsula of sorts with a narrow dirt road leading to it and a few other smaller hotels or B&Bs. Then alongside the beach are “tracks” in the dirt that I hike down into the forest with some old growth trees, marshes, and some small animals and birds. Locals come down these tracks to find a private spot on the beach and like all good things in nature it may be getting “loved to death” with too much use. My Gallery below includes a few of my shots from this trip along this beachside rainforest trail. Though the Caribbean is slower developing than other parts of Costa Rica, I’m afraid it too will go for “the progress of the area.”

Here’s a shot from the beach with forest on left going all the way to the end of that “point” or peninsula.

Looking North from Hotel Beach, Forest on the Left.
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