Monteverde: Exploring, Ziplining and Wilderness Survival

In the last 2 years I have seen snow probably less than 10 times. Most of those times were during the week before I left Canada for Costa Rica, I think I’m doing it right. Monteverde is gorgeous, I had another day off and explored a little more. I’ve been ziplining, night hiking, dancing, learning, teaching and just generally exploring and enjoying life!

The one photo I got of me ziplining. This is during the 1.59 km 'superman' line.

The one photo I got of me ziplining. This is during the 1.59 km ‘superman’ line.

I went ziplining at a place here in Monteverde called Adventura. It included a 1.59km “superman” line, which is when you are attached to the zipline by your back and soar through the air like some kind of weird bird, and a tarzan swing. The tarzan swing is a 45m rope swing. You step off of a platform (by step off I mean some patient employees push you off while you repeatedly say “ohmygod no, no no no”) and then you freefall until the rope catches you. Then you take this awesome swing 45m below the platform. It was amazing, I feel bad for any eardrums within a 100m radius though. As it turns out I can scream like a terrified howler monkey.

A gigantic strangler fig tree you can climb inside of.

A gigantic strangler fig tree you can climb inside of.

I’ve done some fun hiking and exploring, a friend showed me this amazing strangler fig tree that is completely hollow and large enough that you can actually climb up inside of it! The other volunteers here at the garden and I went and checked out another fig tree that has fallen across the river and it’s roots have grown down into the river. Both were absolutely amazing, I am completely smitten by trees right now!

A cute little frog we found on our night hike

A cute little frog we found on our night hike

I’ve been on a couple awesome night hikes. The first was just 4 of us nerdy biology types out for a casual stroll in the woods, which made for a great time with lots of interesting discoveries. We found a male praying mantis and threw him in with our female when we got back then got to watch them mate. It was the most violently interesting thing I have ever witnessed. She literally picks him apart like a crab and eats him while they mate. A few of us also did an official tour with an amazing local guide. We saw all kinds of things, but the highlight for me was probably the bioluminescent mycorrhizal fungus. That’s right, glowing fungus on a tree root. It was amazing. The guide rubbed the tree root and it glowed blue-white in the dark.

Our awesome new staff t-shirts. The Machaca bug is extremely toxic. The locals will know if you've been bitten by one, and there is only one cure for it: you must go to bed with a Costa Rican man within 12 hours. Just kidding, but it makes for a good pick up line/t-shirt.

Mischa, Mike & I modeling our awesome new staff t-shirts: “Have you been bitten by the machaca?”
The Machaca bug is extremely venomous and there is only one cure for it: you must go to bed with a Costa Rican man within 12 hours. Just kidding, but it makes for a good pick up line/t-shirt.

Work here at the gardens is so much fun, I’ve been giving guided tours to people from all over the world. This weekend I was able to run the Young Naturalist Club, a group of kids who get together once a month to learn about science and nature. I put together a wilderness survival type thing. I learned a lot, mostly that I need to be better at organizing children, but hopefully they learned a bit too. We made splints and slings for broken arms with a first aid kit and materials you’d find in the woods, attempted to start a fire with a flint and semi-dry coconut husk, and built a shelter.

The the Young Naturalist Club, I pre-built the structure & put half the leaves on to make sure it would work before turning it over to the young naturalists to finish.

The the Young Naturalist Club, I pre-built the structure & put half the leaves on to make sure it would work before turning it over to the young naturalists to finish.

The kids finished the shelter and made a little sleeping pad inside of it!

The kids finished the shelter and made a little sleeping pad inside of it!

We had two kids with broken arms who had to make splints & slings. As you can see they are in a lot of pain.

We had two kids with broken arms who had to make splints & slings. As you can see they are in a lot of pain.

I’m going to try to do some more science themed blog posts but it’s been rather hectic and I thought I should let everyone know what I was up to! So in summary it’s still amazing down here in Costa Rica, everyone should come visit, and here a bunch of my photos!

Eli had a lot of fun putting scorpions on the stick for Mike & I while we played 'scorpion stick'

Eli had a lot of fun putting scorpions on the stick for Mike & I while we played ‘scorpion stick’

Whoever drops the stick first loses, it was a tie. But I had a lot of scorpions on my face.

Whoever drops the stick first loses, it was a tie. But I had a lot of scorpions on my face.

An eyelash viper. Snakes will actually move around quite a bit after they die and may actually bite themselves. Herpetologists say that snakes "don't know when they're dead"

An eyelash viper. Snakes will actually move around quite a bit after they die and may actually bite themselves. Herpetologists say that snakes “don’t know when they’re dead”

A beautiful orange kneed tarantula we found outside

A beautiful orange kneed tarantula we found outside

Things not to be afraid of: tarantulas. They have never killed anyone. They just get a bad rep for being big and hairy!

Things not to be afraid of: tarantulas. They have never killed anyone. They just get a bad rep for being big and hairy!

A little white faced capuchin monkey came for a visit

A little white faced capuchin monkey came for a visit

This little caterpillar has a really cool predator deterrent. He looks like a snake!

This little caterpillar has a really cool predator deterrent. He looks like a snake!

Enjoying some coconuts with rum

Enjoying some coconuts with rum

Praying mantis sex. A violent affair.

Praying mantis sex. A violent affair.

A butterfly that has just emerged from it's chrysalis

A butterfly that has just emerged from it’s chrysalis

A super cool looking leaf mimicking katydid They hear with ears on their legs and have evolved ears that are structurally very similar to ours! But theirs can hear higher frequency bat noises.

A super cool looking leaf mimicking katydid They hear with ears on their legs and have evolved ears that are structurally very similar to ours! But theirs can hear higher frequency bat noises.

 

We'll end with a photo of a beautiful sphinx moth. Moths can be beautiful too. Sometimes even more beautiful than butterflies!

We’ll end with a photo of a beautiful sphinx moth. Moths can be beautiful too. Sometimes even more beautiful than butterflies!

Someone make a snow angel in my honor, and I’ll drink a coconut or something for you.

Much love from Costa Rica!

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One thought on “Monteverde: Exploring, Ziplining and Wilderness Survival

  1. You could definitely see your skills in the article you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe.
    All the time go after your heart.

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