Sunset on the Pacific coast (Cindy McKinnon)
Day 5 –We set off early in the cool morning wearing fleece and are quickly rewarded with our first sighting, the acorn woodpecker, peeking out of a telephone pole. Merinos, our guide, leads us to a wild avocado tree, sets up his scope, and assures us that the quetzal, a bird with bright red and green feathers, will appear. Sure enough, he spots a female and excitedly calls, “Cindy, Cindy, come see!” as he gestures to his scope for a closer view. Soon more birds gather in the avocado tree to feed, the green toucanet, the black with blue-billed guan, Costa Rica’s national bird the brown robin, and finally a male quetzal with its magnificent long sloping blue tail feathers.
That afternoon we hike along the river bed, passing holding ponds teeming with trout, some leaping out of the water. The trail winds past huge ferns, under bromeliads clinging to the overhead branches, along flowering red passion trees. Hearing the roaring sound of rushing water, we gingerly cross the river on a log stretched across to the other side, hiking another ten minutes to reach the water falls. A bridge spans the river and affords views on each side of the rushing waters cascading over giant boulders.
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