It’s been a while and I’m sure that many, myself included had grave doubts as to whether I would actually continue writing this blog since it has been close to a year since my last post. However, after some deliberation I’ve decided to reprise the role of the cautionary tale to help steer people clear of my many mistakes, and hopefully provide a little entertainment along the way.
What’s kept me away from here and travel for the past year? Well, last month I had hip replacement surgery of the left hip after an interminable waitlist. This has been a long time in coming since I’ve been in chronic pain since 2010 after it was confirmed that the dexamethosone, a steroid used in the treatment of testicular cancer from the previous year, had damaged the capillaries surrounding the head of the femur, resulting in bone death and collapse. So after 3 years of morphine use I’m finally off the drug, fevering for new opportunities and chilling on the beach…though in the absence of travel I’m settling for just the fever and chills of withdrawal. Progress is slow since they had to cut through the muscle to saw through the bone. However, after a month I’m back on my feet, walking a few trails with the dog, and although I can’t yet bend over to tie up my shoes or put on my socks, it’s a start. The tedium has been mounting during my convalescence, and now at roughly 6 weeks which marks the time of “basic” healing I’ve purchased a ticket for a little over a month in Costa Rica. Perhaps not the most adventurous of destinations but a good way to ease back into the rigours of the traveling lifestyle.
Unfortunately April is high season and with Costa Rica being stable, having great infrastructure and an abundance of wildlife, it will undoubtedly be overrun, a far cry from my usual travel destinations. To elude the masses I’ve chosen La Amistad and Corcovado national parks as my main destinations, spending a couple weeks in both.
La Amistad (friendship) park is a joint venture between Costa Rica and Panama founded in 1988 and is not only the largest park in either country, but was also voted a world heritage site by UNESCO. Biologically, it’s importance cannot be overstated. Comprising an unbroken mountain chain, the Talamancas, which range from X meters to over 3000 meters, it like the Andes provides a hugely varied landscape with an array of ecologically diverse niches. From the lowland slopes to cloudforest to the upper paramo, the park is home to over 90 mammal species including the 6 big forest cats, over 500 bird species (including the harpy eagle), 112 reptiles and amphibians and countless insects… sounds like my kind of place!
Corcovado in comparison is strictly lowland tropical rainforest and although remote with only dirt roads to lead into it, it has apparently become increasingly popular. One can enter via Drake Bay which is remote and almost strictly confined to posh lodges which operate in the area, or else by Puerto Jimenez where the park’s offices are located and has the option of camping. Fortunately it is still the dry season and access won’t be choked by impassable muddy roads.
Despite the remoteness of these parks, I’ll probably be bushwhacking more than I usually do to avoid crowds. And so here I am, 4:00 in the morning sharpening my machete in anticipation (of the travel, not the crowds!).