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Flora and Fauna and Costa Rica

"In a way, nobody sees a flower. It is so small, we haven't the time. To see takes time, like to have a friend takes time." - Georgia O'Keeffe

Bluets (Houstonia caerulea) along the Great Allegheny Passage

Not long ago I realized that my hours spent on trail would be a much richer if I took greater notice of the beauty of nature. Flowers, trees and birds surrounded me on every run and I set out to learn their names. I figured at the very least it could occupy my mind when the going got tough, if not make my experience more enjoyable. Thank you Gary Knipling for opening my eyes to the joys of these "gifts from the trail!"

I've taken lots of photos, observed so much and even learned a few names. I'm still a neophyte. That hasn't dampened my enthusiasm a bit. There hasn't been much to see this winter due to the record snowfall, so I'm more anxious than usual for Spring's arrival. I need my flora and fauna fix.

In fact I'm so eager that during Snowmageddon, Tom and I booked a trip to Costa Rica!

Here's Lonely Planet's description of this nature lover's paradise:

"The range of habitats in Costa Rica, a consequence of its unique geography, creates an incredibly rich diversity of flora and fauna – in fact no other country on the planet has such variety. Measured in terms of number of species per 10,000 sq km Costa Rica tops the list of countries at 615 species, compared to a wildlife-rich country such as Rwanda that has 596, or to the comparatively impoverished USA with its 104 species. Nowhere else in the world are so many types of habitats squeezed into such a tiny area."

With this plethora of birds, butterflies and wildlife, we can't wait to get out and see it all -- and mostly on foot, what could be better? I am especially looking forward to the Cloud Forest at Monteverde. We're hoping to spy a Resplendent Quetzal, but we'll be ecstatic just to experience this wondrous setting.
Resplendent Quetzal, Photo by brettocop

Hopefully my monkey curse is no longer in effect. In 2003 I became possibly the only person, ever, to NOT see a monkey in Manuel Antonio. We're skipping Manuel Antonio in favor of Playa Montezuma this trip. One can never go wrong with a little time at the beach, monkeys or no monkeys.

Playa Montezuma, Photo by Geoff S.

The very active Arenal Volcano is also on our list.
Vulcan Arenal, photo by Wha'ppen

Fingers crossed that we'll get a clear view of Vulcan Arenal and its frequent lava show! We're not getting our hopes up, and if the volcano is obscured, we'll console ourselves in the hot springs of Tabacon Grand Spa.
Tabacon Hot Springs, photo by Neilio

When I return, Spring will have officially arrived, flowers will be blooming, and I'll have just three weeks until the Bull Run 50 Miler and its showy bluebells.