We began our New Year by travelling up the road to see if we could find the Resplendent Quetzal. Our guide Melvin was an expert on all the birds in the area. Just driving up the road, he named anything and everything that flew by. It was a wonderland of diversity. We stopped where a pair of Quetzals had recently been seen. As we took in the beautiful mountain ridges, Melvin slipped down by the creek to scout a favorite tree. Bingo! Off we went doing our best to navigate the terrain to get a peek. And there he was, sitting in the branches of a tree with his beautiful long tail trailing behind. While my husband and sons quickly took pictures, I just smiled up at him sitting resplendently on his perch. Melvin had a great zoom lens so we were all able to get a close look.
After lunch, we arranged for a ride to the top of the nature reserve hiking trail. Riding up and hiking down through the old growth forest was a wonderful way to take in the unique ecosystem. A dense canopy, cool mountain streams, and mosquitoes were reminiscent of the forests I was more familiar with in the Western United States. But then, around the corner, I would find a palm tree, epiphyte, or beautiful orchid reminding me I am near the equator. We all would have enjoyed more time exploring this wonderful area but with fading light, we had to return to the lodge with that ''I could spend a week here'' feeling.