This Throw Yourself into Nature Thursday takes place in Costa Rica's Tenorio Volcano National Park. The first time I visited, I practically had to pinch myself. It looked more like a scene from a Disney flick than real life. Each step seemed less real than the previous.
Just locating the park is an adventure if you attempt it without a guide. I've done it both ways and found it much more pleasurable with a tour guide. There are access points from the east and the west, however Google Maps doesn’t display the dirt roads needed to access the park. Surprisingly, our ancient friend, Mapquest does the trick.
The closer you get to the protected park the more magical it becomes. A few miles out I saw a tree with hundreds of straw looking bags hanging from an enormous rainbow eucalyptus (below). The tree looked like children had drawn up and down the trunk with crayons with every color in the box. Then, I noticed gorgeous oropendolas (a bird with a bright yellow tail and feet that sing an extraordinary song) zooming in and out of the stork-like bags. They darted in and out of their incredibly crafted nests with perfect precision.
After I arrived to the park, I rented galoshes for the slippery journey. Even though it was mid-December, deep into the dry season, Tenorio has it’s own microclimate that keeps the environment a wet and wild plethora of life. The mud along the trail was impressive, I slid down ankle deep numerous times during the 4 hour trek. The intermittent rain, fog, and mist created a surreal vibe. Moss was wrapped around every tree and limb.