Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend Installment One - Busy Busy

Thursday morning we spent some time together at the house. Usually we are on the run doing activities and Jeff doesn't get to enjoy the house. Since we were going to a friends' house for Thanksgiving dinner (and the waves were too high to dive) we stuck around the house. I baked an apple pie and made a raw food chocolate pudding to bring over. We headed over the Raquel and Ray's at around 3:15. Other guests hadn't arrived yet so we toured the finca. We hadn't seen it since their neighbors burned half their forest (5 acres of it). They lost a lot of really nice trees including Capa Prietas and Rainbow Eucalyptus. Despite the losses it still looked like a forest, but I am sure they are missing many beautiful trees they remember planting as seedlings. Raquel's family arrived so we all came up the slope toward the house to get things ready for dinner. Here's the table - yes it is the end of November, we are dining outside and there isn't any rain. It did get a little chilly so we did put on sweaters but for November? Where else is it this beautiful? We had a great meal with great company. We had some nice wine. Another friend dropped by and there were nice discussions. Very pleasant evening - it is nice to have friends!
Friday was spent doing yard things. The weather abruptly changed around the 20th and it feels like the dry season is here. It is breezy, cooler, the humidity is much lower and things done in the yard stay done for a while. After Friday at home we decided to head to El Yunque on Saturday. We have lived here for 3 years and hadn't been to the rain forest. The rain forest seemed very much like the walks through the jungle we take on the way to caves with the exception of a couple surprises. First off the 'forest' appeared to be pretty much just gigantic palms. We weren't expecting that. The next surprise was that all the bromeliads were blooming. The park was clean. The roads leading up to the park were clean. The trails were in good condition. In the jungle it almost likes like things are "arranged." Bromeliads and ferns look like they were planted on tree trunks.

The palms were gigantic! Every corner had some view or a stream or clouds/mist.

We followed the El Yunque trail to the lookout tower at the top. Once you round this one area you come to a bunch of rocks and at this point you can carefully climb out onto them and look 360. The jungle/forest floor dropped away. The mist/clouds rolled out/over the slopes. It was like being in a movie.

This was definitely a cloud forest.

There were neat plants in the wild that are "houseplants" in the west.

We reached the top of the El Yunque trail in 1 and a half hours of so. There was an observatory there.

We were up at almost 3500 feet which is high for Puerto Rico. We took a slightly different way back going on Road 10 for a short bit until we got to the Mt.Britton spur. We went down it until we reached the observatory there.

Inside it looked neat with the doorway and windows oozing mist. There were snails on the trails.

Red stick skirts adorned the palm trees and the tops of the palms were packed with loads of bromeliads and ferns.

On the drive down we stopped at this waterfall. We were kind of poo pooing things like lookout places but stopped here to see the falls. This was a shear flat rock face that the water cascaded over.

So now we have been to the cloud forest part of the park. The next time we will go to a lower elevation area. It would be nice to see a tree fern forest or something. After hiking for a bunch of miles we stopped for an early dinner at Ichibana's in Caguas. We had a nice sushi dinner. We topped it off with a Carmel Machiatti and 5 layer chocolate cake from Starbucks. Then it was home to pack up for Sunday's adventure!

No comments: