The exciting descent to the cloud forest
I'm laying in bed writing by candlelight listening to the sounds of the cloud forest. What an incredible 10.5 hour drive from Cusco to Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge. A little scary with 5,000' drop offs, landslides, tunnels, deep mud holes, but so very exciting too. The bumpy road had so many places where the road was completely cut away. Sometimes, it felt like the wheel was 1 inch from the edge! Sometimes huge trucks would come right at us, and force us the back up; scary, but our driver was so good at backing up. We started the day at 11,500', went up to almost 13,000', then began the descent to 5,000'. From dry desert to elfin forest to cloud forest, where everything is in mist. Got so excited to see rainforest plants and animals again after so long. This place is so remote already and we're only 1 day in. Saw 2 species of quetzals, a toucanet and when we pulled in to the lodge at 4:30, we saw 4 brown capuchin monkeys up close!! Saw 4 species of hummingbirds while having a drink, followed by a tasty dinner. Enrique (our guide) is fantastic and our driver is even better because he didn't get us killed! So glad we're in such a small group - nice people (two 24-yr olds from San Francisco and a couple from Holland).
Met to go to the Cock-of-the-Rock lek at 5:45 am! Totally amazing --- 3 males were there - so much noise and fluffing feathers, etc. Then saw lots of other birds - oropendolas, woodpeckers, 5 species of tanagers, a jacamar, and so many more cock-of-the-rocks. The bright orange is just gorgeous, especially when they fly. I think I got some great pictures. Then had breakfast watching all the crazy brown capuchin monkeys. Saw one crawl through a screen, grab bread off the table, and zoom out the door. Another came in through the door to steal a package of crackers, and then sat on the roof eating the crackers.