I never really thought of myself as a tree-hugger before. There were warning signs, of course. The hazy Grateful Dead shows up and down the East Coast in the 90s. The organic, fair trade coffee in my pantry now. The fact that I know who Terry Gross is.
On the other hand, I eat more red meat than the entire Green Bay Packers offensive line. I subscribed to National Review for ten years. And if I thought I could do it without blowing off my foot first, I’d shoot any bear that wandered into my backyard in Colorado.
But now that I’ve visited the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve a few times, the pendulum is swinging hard in the “filthy hippie” direction.
Forget about reducing global warming and offsetting your carbon footprint. Forget about pretending snails are really just a few evolutionary years away from getting their PhDs in computer science. We should save places like the Monteverde Reserve because of the simple fact that they’re incredibly cool to look at.
Pam, Rae and I hiked through the Reserve yesterday. Walking around in the forest there is like walking around in “Avatar,” minus the derivative screenplay. Now, normally I can blow through tourist attractions in about 30 minutes. I’m the master of slowing down briefly to take a quick whiff in the general direction of the roses that someone told me might be growing near the side of the road. So I was surprised when I found myself moving along the Reserve trails at a crawl.
The forest overwhelms you with 360 degrees of cartoonish plants, eerie bird calls and insects so brightly colored they look like a kindergartner just attacked them with a set of finger paints. You could spend three hours and not cover more distance than a long par 4. (Of course given my handicap, three hours on a long par 4 is fairly normal.)
Just when we were ready to head up the trail Rae would spot some weird colony of mushrooms growing at our feet, or Pam would see a bird flying around 20 feet above us that looked like it just escaped from some exotic Upper East Side pet shop,. We never knew where to look next. Fortunately, you can just look anywhere and find something intriguing.
And being the typical lazy gringos that we are, we went at 10:00 in the morning. People tell us that’s way too late to see they really exciting animals. They say there are ten times as many creatures out if you go around 6:00am. I can’t wait to get Pam’s report on those creatures next Sunday over brunch.
Speaking of miraculous creatures soaring over people’s heads, I’d be remiss if I didn’t link to a video of one such beautiful specimen.
Behold, the dexterus stricklandius. It feeds on seven-foot-tall sloths.
Eat it, Krzyz%ewfhnlw42F$fsnrlen3ski!
And now some other highlights from the weekend.