12 September 2008

El Yunque

The day after my niece's wedding, The Tim, my sister Nancy and her husband Michael, and their daughter Lauren and her boyfriend Ben piled into our little rented car to go hiking in El Yunque.

Which reminds me - R is for Rainforest!

El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in North America. It just happened to be located right near the resort where Julie and Keith got married. We figured that it may be our only chance to see any rainforest in person, and we were not disappointed.

There are several trails, the most difficult one being to the summit, which takes an average of four hours. As you can probably imagine, the morning after the wedding, none of us were particularly anxious to spend four hours hiking! So we opted to take the trail that would lead us to Cocoa Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the park (El Yunque is part of the U.S. National Parks System). It was breathtaking, amazing, and one of the most unique experiences of my life.

We started at a tower, where you could climb and see over the forest from several directions.

Me at the top of the tower

View from south of the tower

Two views of the rainclouds coming in over the mountains

Small waterfall along the trail

Tree with exposed roots

Sky above trail to
Cocoa Falls

El Tim on the trail at El Yunque

Cocoa Falls

From the side and top
of Cocoa Falls

Lauren (left) and Nancy (right)
wave to the photographer
from pool at bottom of
Cocoa Falls

Unfortunately, we didn't see any of the tree frogs (though we heard them), or monkeys, or mongoose that live there. We did see some interesting birds flying around, and some very interesting plant life.

And oddly, a retired Philadelphia policeman was the person who was giving out maps at the Visitors Center! Proving the world really is smaller than you think sometimes.


Anonymous said...

Still trying to get my head around the fact that you're a cataloguer. I took that class. Tough work, figuring out the "aboutness" of a book (I still refuse to believe that's an actual word). ^_^ Anyway, you're a stronger woman than I am. I can only work with teenagers. Cataloguing is HARD work.

Kathleen said...

Love the hat and want to see a closeup of your t-shirt! Looks like a wonderful trip.

Lorette said...

Gorgeous photos! Actually, I think El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in N. America. The upper left coast is one big rain forest, much of Olympic National Park is temperate rainforest.

Bridget said...

Lorette, I'm sure that you must be correct, especially since you live on the upper left coast!

This just shows that I know very little about rainforests at all - my sister the environmental scientist would be quite dismayed (however, since she doesn't read my blog, I'm safe ...).

Anyway, I will make the correction or else it will drive me nuts!

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Fantastic experience and wonderful pictures! That T-shirt you are wearing is odd.... I can't quite make it out.

Not to jinx anything but YAY for ND!!!!

Carrie K said...

The world is so small. Wow, those are some falls! Gorgeous scenery. And there are people in your vacation pictures! Real people!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous pictures! (psst- saw your kitties on Carol's blog, and they are gorgeous, too)

Brigitte said...

Nice pictures Bridget!

Um...where is El Yunque?

Lorraine said...

Bridget- What a cool place. Amazing where you find those Philadelphians, isn't it?

Jeanne said...

Gorgeous pictures - looks like a great trip!

Anne K. said...

What fabulous sights - thanks so much for sharing!!!

Alison Boon said...

Congrats on your well deserved award. Stunning photos of the waterfall. What a trip.