Page 26: - No Return Ticket - Just a Ride Report /w Pics - From the beginning
Search for the Toucan
Today we head up into the Miraflor cloud forest in search of adventure and Toucans. We are on foot in Esteli by 8:30 AM. I rode to the Miraflor reserve a few days ago with the motorcycle so I know where to start. We walk for 30 minutes or more before the first pickup truck stops and gives us a lift.
The dirt road passes by a couple factories; tobacco, coffee and others that I’m not sure what they are. Soon just farms are spread far and wide apart. The farms have no electricity up in these parts.
These people I think are delivering water in milk buckets. The driver of our truck stops to chit chat and picks up another guy to share the back of the pickup truck with us.
The road starts climbing up.
After almost a half hour the road forks and the truck stops to drop us off. The driver wouldn’t accept any money for the ride and tells us to hike down the other road for the Toucans. We all wave goodbye.
This is where we are dropped off, in front of a map of the Miraflor reserve with towns and attractions marked on it. The only thing this map doesn’t have is an indication of where we are on it, plus there are no roads marked on the map. I made a list of a few sites we want to hit, we start walking down the road hoping we will find at least one that is on the list.
We pass several small farms with interesting outside ovens at several.
Waiting for local traffic…….
The reserve starts off with dry savanna, then as we march up it turns into some type of intermediate climate zone before becoming cloud forest. After hours of walking the trees start looking funny. There is definitely a feeling between us that we are far from home.
Almost two hours on foot and not one single truck passes us. We did come across this ornery looking hombre though. He lets us pass without an incident……..
Going up and up we can start to see the beginning of the cloud forest.
We meet up with a couple of kids who enjoy hiking with us for a while. When we first see them they are walking at a snails pace but when we catch up they do everything to keep up and hang with us, always bearing huge smiles.
We pass 2 Milaflor sites we have listed but continue on up into the cloud forest figuring we will explore these sites on our way back down.
OK, we hit a small village and see a sign pointing up a trail into the forest. The kids hiking with us split off somewhere into the village, we proceed, with the blessing of local villagers to march up the trail in search of Toucan.
We didn’t see any Toucan’s but did see a lot of exotic looking birds and plant life. It is a beautiful hike and we enjoyed practicing our Spanish with people we met along the way.
On our way back down the trail a chicken bus passes us heading back down to Esteli. We decided to let it go by and keep walking so we can visit the other sites we saw along the way.
At times the hiking is tough.
But always beautiful.
Cactus growing out of a rock. This is the first time we ever saw anything like this.
This is kind of hard to see but here is a line of ants crossing the trail carrying leaves about ten times bigger then they are. I love this kind of stuff.
We are hiking back down the road toward where the first truck dropped us off. We have been hiking for over seven hours now and are hoping for a chicken bus, pickup truck or anything that can give us a lift. Not one vehicle passes that can carry us. We march on. Luckily we were smart and brought plenty of water, energy snacks and survival supplies. Another thing I learned from my father is that hiking is all about resting, re-hydrating, eating and enjoying the view.
We make it back to the spot where the first pickup truck dropped us off. We are toast to say the least. Here we decide to just park it and hope for someone to drive by and pick us up. We wait for over a half an hour before the first vehicle comes along. It is a pickup truck that already has another passenger in the back. The truck stops, we jump in while inside our minds, jumping for joy.
Almost nine hours later we are back in our hotel room in Esteli, it is hard for life to be sweeter.
Just Adventure Travel……..We hope you enjoyed coming along with us on our Miraflor reserve hike.
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