Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cerro de la Muerte

One amazing aspect of living in a tropical environment is the excuses your professors make to get the class outside. This is especially true if you’re taking an ecology class, in that case everything you do in class is just a build up to the fieldtrips. One of these trips was to a place called Paraiso Quetzal (Quetzal Paradise), and although we may not have seen any quetzals, there was so much else to see that we didn’t even notice.

What kind of bird did you want to see?

A hummingbird?

Or maybe one of these guys?

Now, one morning we woke up impossibly early to go take a hike up a mountain. Have you ever walked blindly into the rainforest at night? It’s scary with all the different kinds of sounds and the feeling of just knowing that there’s probably a puma or a chupacabra watching you in the bushes.

So our mountain is called Cerro de la Muerte (Hill of Death). Now, to me, “hill” does not really convey a sense of dread, so why on Earth would anyone name this particular hill the Hill of Death? Believe it or not, Costa Rica actually does get cold. At high altitudes. Apparently high enough to coat the ground in a thin layer of frost sometimes when the humidity is just right.

This also means that it can get cold enough to induce hypothermia, and to the unsuspecting hiker or college student, this could (has done so) spell disaster. Three people have died somewhere on the slopes of this hill just from trying to hike up it without warm clothing.

So there’s that bit of valuable information. I have to admit though, the view was incredible and it would be hard to pass up a sunrise on anything called the Hill of Death. 


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