Los Angeles Cloud forest north of San Ramon, Costa RIca
19.01.2009 - 19.01.2009 18 °C
A cramped and speedy cab ride ($15 each way) to the misty elevations north of the city of San Ramon brought us to the very impressive Villa Blanca Hotel ($160 per night) which provided us with a guide to explain the dense green growth found in the primary Los Angeles Cloud Forest.
The explanations of the dependency of all green growth on the trees and the moisture were intricate and passionate, expressing the need to control the polluting influences which threaten the existence of this pristine environment.
It is with interest that I hear the term "We are running out of time" when in discussion with those who actually have the data that confirms the damage that is being done to our planet.
Our guide made reference to the often heard fact that as the planet warms the species that live in a climate such as this Los Angeles Cloud Forest are moving to higher elevations to maintain the environmental conditions that sustain their existence. I reflect on our position in this world as I hear the prognostics suggest that as the sea levels rise our populations will head for higher ground. How many people will we fit into that ever shrinking space of habitable ground?
We were able to count 20 different species of bromeliad plants growing on just 1 square foot of this branch. Insects, reptiles and birds all depend on the trees for their food and lodging and to alter the climate, which has already increased several degrees centigrade in a generation, would jepordize the existence of thousands of species.
The growth of life on the trees in this area is exaplified by a suggestion that if you left your car in the parking lot for 2 months you would return to it to find moss and plant growth rapidly covering it.
The winding paths took us past huge trees (100s' of different specimens), vines, palms and insects all with unique characteristics and dependencies on its' neighbour. Huge leaves the size of our dining room table reached over our path covered with moss and spider webs.
The palm trees begin their leaf growth much as the ground fern does in our native Nova Scotia. We harvest this precious fern blooms as fiddleheads in the spring and steam them till tender, but the palm sprout unfolds itself from this pulpy mass of brown feathers into a large and far reaching palm frond.
The leaves found in the cloud forest are often referred to as the poor mans sombrero.
The trail tour costs $20 and is about 2 hours on the trails and in the gardens and facilities. It is obvious that the Hotel has attracted an affluent clientele but the message of conservation and critical management of the delicate resources in Costa Rica are of paramount interest to the Villa Blanca Hotel and are styled to reach all who have a stake in conservation and a return to more a more basic understanding of our world.
This would be a place to return on our next trip but after a brief 3 hours we returned to town as our cabmates had other obligations. When visiting the Los Angeles Cloud Forest be prepared for cooler air and the potential for a lot of moisture. A light waterproof jacket should be enough.
The cloud forest escapes into the sun for a brief 4 hours each day between 10 am and 2 pm.