Liatris on Assignment in Costa Rica
Climbing a tree in the Costa Rican rainforest is a little different from the apple tree in my back yard. For one thing, the first branch to grab is a half mile up whereas in my back yard it only takes a little hop to begin the climb. Luckily, Hacienda Baru has spiffy harnesses to help get into the canopy:
I was surprised at how secure I felt with the gear on. Perhaps part of the safe feeling was that as time went on I became fairly certain I didn’t have the strength or coordination required to climb more than three or four feet, and how hurt can you get with a fall from three feet? The advertisement said that great strength wasn’t required, but one should be “fit.” I guess fit is relative, but I did eventually make it up the tree. Once I figured out the balance and weight distribution for maximum leg muscle use instead of wimpy arm muscle use I started up into the wild green yonder!
Our guide, Carlos, was patient and knowledgeable. He spoke English very well and put up with my efforts at Spanish with humor. Along our walk to the tree, he proved to be an interesting guide. He explained that the property had been a cocoa plantation. He showed us the fruit and the bean. He even let me taste the bean which although bitter, had a faint chocolate taste to it.
The forest here is lovely, particularly jungly. They brought along a spotting scope to get closeup views of birds, monkeys and other wildlife.
I need to tell you, though, that it took all of my energy resources and then some to get up that tree. If you are active and strong it will be fun and exciting, but if you are not used to using your muscles it will be a challenge. I was so proud of myself and so excited to see the forest from the top that I was utterly disappointed when Carlos said, “Okay – Are you ready to go down?” after about 3 minutes. I had expected some education about the forest canopy, who lives there, why it is important, how a rainforest operates… But I went back down and survived to tell the tale.
Back at the Hacienda we stopped for a mango con leche which was delicious. Then went for a stroll through the butterfly garden where we saw a Blue Morpho as many other delights.
Photo by: Hacienda Baru