Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Up Into the Cloud Forest

This is my second time to Selva Negra, the famous coffee plantation of Nicaragua. This time around, I wanted to see more of the nature in the area instead of the machines and production stages.

When you step out the back door,
you are DEFINITELY IN the Jungle!
Early one morning, all the guys from my group got up before the sun to make the trek through the forest. Our hot water hadn’t been turned on yet. But it wasn’t an issue. Nothing wakes you up at 5am quite like splashing yourself with 40 degree water when it’s only about 45 degrees outside.

We started out barely able to see the path in front of us. I tried taking pictures in the early parts of the hike, but I personally hate the flash on my camera since it makes things look so unnatural.

We crossed a little stream several times as we switched back and forth up the slope of Selva Negra’s surrounding mountains. The ascent was much steeper than any trail I’ve casually hiked in the states and much less maintained. This gave me a great feeling of real adventure as we trudged upward.

My hike was cut short, however. After making quite a climb, my ears began to throb horribly. I must be accustomed to living at the normally low altitude of the Atlantic coast.

I began my slow walk back down feeling rather defeated, but the light of the sun had returned and was giving a new life to the forest around us. I could really appreciate the groves of ferns and brush in all their green glory.

 There were giant trees all around that I had failed to truly size up when I first walked by. Many of these trees were being covered by another parasitic tree called the strangling fig. Like the name suggests, it wraps around a tree, using it for support and nutrients until it kills its host and takes its place.

Finally as I got closer to where we started, I heard a commotion taking place in the canopy. Switching to my telephoto, I was able to snap some great shots of family of howler monkeys as they were waking up and preparing to wake up the rest of the mountain with their calls.

Can you feel the humidity?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mercado, Massaya, and Mom

Mom and I looking out over the volcano.

Taking pictures of the lagoon

We found some traditional dancers in the street.   Mom and Kathya got a picture with them.