Notes from Windward: #67


Lindsay checks in from Costa Rica

Hello Windward!

     I am writing from a hostel at the base of several cloud forest reserves. And as the name indicates, the clouds have rolled in to encase the town, the forests and the mountains, bringing with them an evening rain --a rain that gives the forest its ever so green color and gives life to the many epiphytes that make the forest structure complex, fascinating and densly packed with vegetation.

     I have been in Costa Rica for about 3 weeks now, mostly planning the logistics of my thesis project and finally, last week, completing the first round of collecting samples. I am looking at how land use practices impact water quality in a region that produces a significant amount of rice and sugar cane. So, "collecting samples" means travelling around, walking through pastures and sugarcane fields, climbing through barbwire fences and walking up streams trying to find the streams that i have identified as ones from which i want to sample. As you might be able to imagine, i find that wonderfully fun! I am using the Palo Verde National Park as my base, which is a tropical dry forest that transitions into mangroves and wetlands. The wetlands serve as breeding and feeding grounds for hundreds of migratory and endemic bird species, and so is full of a great diversity of birdlife. In the evenings and mornings, when the light is low, and the birds are flying around, and the mountains to the west stand irregular and illuminated, it is quite peaceful and beautiful.

     I do not need to sample again until the first week in january, so i now have a few weeks to travel and explore. and of course, i have retreated to the mountains. a couple days ago, i climbed up an active volcano, whose name translates into "little old woman's corner". It was great fun, though incredibly windy at the top, and too cloudy to really see anything, but exhilirating nonetheless.

     After the cloud forest, I plan on heading into the more heavily agricultural areas where coffee and chocolate, pineapple and veggies are grown. I hope to be staying on a few organic farms over the next few weeks, as I find that volunteernig on tropical farms is one of the best ways to get a more intimate look at the culture, people, landscape and its less expensive than doing all the touristic activities. I also hope to be climbing the highest peak in costa rica, cerro chirripo, with a friend from school who is also here in costa rica.

     You should all know that I think of you and Windward often. Even with all the fresh oranges, I greatly miss the wonderful apples we gathered from around Klickitat county. And being woken up by the full moon as it passed through the skylight in the yurt. I would love to hear how you all are doing.

I hope you are all cozy and warm.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67