Part 3, the last and final part of Day 4 which probably didn’t need to be split in three…
May 28th, 2014
Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to step through the fluffy white masses of air with your bear feat because you couldn’t imagine anything else more relaxing? Well I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not at all what being in a cloud is like. In the montane cloud forest of El Pahuma we were only 7,000 ft high, which is nothing compared to the horrors of the páramo, but still altitude reduces the amount of available oxygen for consumption. The clouds that make their way up the mountains to the height of unfortunate hikers such as myself contain little droplets of moisture that keep you, the plants, any anything else they engulf perpetually wet. The problem that arises is the lack of conductive cooling of your skin through sweat, eliminating any utility of the salty solution rising from the pores of your skin and serving to further increase the difficulty of the hike. Even with the reductive physical properties of the cloud forest, it still was not as muddy as the páramo which deserves extra mention for its dirty travels, so this was by definition, an easier-to-accomplish feat.
In addition to the physical properties of the environment, I am swiftly gaining the identifications skills necessary to be a successful field biologist and am on the road to becoming a master naturalist. I would definitely say Ceiba is doing a good job here because the hike up to the waterfall proved to be educational as well as eye-opening. I am just starting to realize how many other forms of life exist, as I was formerly ignorant to their existence. With my plant identification skills slowly budding (pun intended) and my oxygen gathering capabilities gaining some longevity, I’m starting to believe that “I can go the distance”. Day 4 done. 27 more to go.