Sunday, December 5, 2010

That's Why They Call It a Rain Forest

Have you ever been hiking in the Pacific Northwest of the United States? Well, it's a lush, wet, green canopy full of moss and undergrowth. In other words, its beautiful. It really is, so we weren't too distracted by the Cloud/Rain Forest of Monteverde at first, until we realize things don't grow like this back home!

There certainly aren't palm trees as big as our dining room growing in the old growth forest just 30 minutes away from our house.

For a measly $14 we were able to hike through this pristine ecosystem that we had to ourselves due to the heavy rains of the wet season that seem to keep everyone away. We didn't care, it's a rain forest, you've got to expect some rain! Although due to the thick canopy, the rain was hardly noticeable - at first.

We decide to hike over to the observation bridge and out to the observation deck overlooking the Cloud Forest. A nice 2-hour hike that would give our lungs a nice dose of oxygen!

You could say the plant life is the star of the Cloud Forest, but we would argue the path the local government cut through to make the Cloud Forest accessible to its visitors was pretty impressive as well.

Unfortunately the open tiled path was a bit slippery and uneven that we spent a lot of time looking down, which provided us the opportunity to enjoy the lesser known inhabitants of the rain forest. This guys was actually pretty huge. Just crossing the walkway.

We had read about Monteverde's suspended walkways all along the rain forest and immediately thought of Vancouver, Canada's top tourist attraction, and extremely scary Capilano Suspension Bridge. Fortunately Monteverde's observation bridge is nothing like the the heart-stopping-swaying suspension Capilano Bridge, but a solid steel bridge high above the rain forest canopy.

The view was absolutely amazing. It was very Jurassic Park, as if any minute a huge ancient bird was going to burst through the thick clouds.

We continued along the beautifully green and lush hiking path to the observation deck.

When we reached it there wasn't much of view, other than the inside of a cloud.

Sure, we've seen plenty of the inside of a cloud, but for some reason it was really mesmerizing.

Plus the forest plant life was colorful and interesting.

As we started to make our way back to the main entrance, it began to rain and we were looking forward to having dinner at an interesting restaurant back in Santa Elena.

The Tree House Restaurant is a well known restaurant in the Monteverde area. Situated literally in the middle of a massive tree, the restaurant is hard to miss, on the main drag in Santa Elena, a small town you must pass through on the way to the Monteverde Forest.

The food was good, but the coffee and friendly staff is why you should stop. After a wet and exhilarating hike it was exactly the pitstop we needed before heading back on the crazy road down the volcano.

1 comment:

Tri and Justin said...

Awesome pics! Reminds me of the hike we had in Venezuela in a cloud rain forest except our path wasn't well cared for so our guide walked in front with a machete to clear the path. Did you notice how everything looked like giant house plants? Their natural habitat...