Transplanted Again

I missed my last chance to post from Monteverde, so we’ve already moved sites to Guancaste, Costa Rica’s northernmost province.  Back in a field station–a proper one this time, complete with rickety bunk beds, no hot water, and a regular assemblage of clumsy insects circling the lights at night.  None of these are complaints, by the way.  I’m not upset, just nostalgic.

Anyway, our drive here took us about half an hour on the highway and a full hour on an access road that covered about a quarter of the distance.  It was more ruts than road, and wound through a relatively cleared section of tropical dry forest.  The environment was pretty typical until we heard thunder and the rain opened up.

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Rain?  In the wet season?  Who would’ve guessed?

There’s a proverb in the Pacific Northwest that it will not rain as long as you wear a raincoat.  Rain waits for you to be unprepared and take off your waterproof gear before coming down.  If that is the case, then drought-afflicted Guanacaste can thank this unwise bunch of soggy gringos who waited too long to cover the bed of their truck with a tarp, and packed their raincoats at the bottom of their bags.  It dropped a true, honest-to-god tropical downpour on us, turning our already primitive road into a slurry of red clay and debris.

We bounced along in our cab, packed in with groceries and whatever bags wouldn’t fit under the tarp, alternating between AC and lowered windows to stay cool.  It was during one of these latter periods that we brushed past a lowered branch that scraped into the open window frame and deposited a dozen angry cicadas into the cab.  We bottomed out several times on exposed rocks and flooded creekbeds.  But the only time we stopped was when we spotted a tortoise crossing the road.  Then, of course, we had to pile out to take photos.  Typical biologists.

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It wasn’t like either of us were in a hurry.

But we eventually made it to the field station, an open hacienda-style affair near the base of Volcano Orosi.  It was getting dark when we arrived, but I had a chance to take in the view in the misty twilight—a long, flat expanse of reclaimed forest.  No doubt full of damselflies.

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