After much frustration, I finally have been able to access Blogger to write this post. I have no idea when I will be able to do this again since my guide Emilio and I leave shortly to a more remote spot in the Amazon basin where we should see some incredible animals and flora.
On Monday we drove Southeast from Cali to visit what is reputed to be one of the most valuable sites in the world to experience biodiversity. This lush, verdant, almost idyllic cloud forest is called the Purace, a park managed by indigenous people nestled around a 15,000 ft. volcano in the Southern Andes. It is home to thousands of different species of plants, including rare orchids,bromeliads, and giant ferns. Likewise, the animals are unique and, personally most important, contains the largest remaining population of the highly endangered mountain tapir.
If you can take the time to click on the first photo, you may understand better the deep feelings I experienced while visiting the park. I am standing at an active crater below the volcano. Hot steam and sulpher bubble out of the ground and meld with a crystal clear spring to form a creek which then flows through prisitine landscape. It is cool here and the spot is shrouded in almost constant mountain mist. These vapors promote a magical, prehistoric sensation. It feels truly like I am witnessing the source of life itself and, understanding through this scene's watery essence, that all living things receive its spark of beginning at a place like this. I imagine seeing even dinosaurs grazing among the strange plants in the meadow. Here there is such a peaceful stillness also that I know that I am before something that many consider sacred.
The second photo was an afterthought intended to thank all of you who have supported me and who have shown me such love. This petal is from an Erythrina, one of the numerous flowers that adorn the landscape. I offer it to you today as a gift from Colombia.