So, we’ve been back from Puerto Rico for a month, and I have been a slacker about relaying our adventures, sorry about that. I’ve been occupying my time writing my children long letters because I miss them this summer. They are a little more than halfway through their visit to their father’s house. We’ve been going to the gym a lot, and hanging out doing other things besides computer activities.
I did want to share our experiences, though, in case other people were curious. Our trip to El Yunque Natonal Forest was a sojourn into the true wilderness of Puerto Rico. This US National Park Service property spreads across 28,000 acres, and is the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest system.
Our visit there was somewhat marred by the fact that it was raining all day, but we were determined not to let it interfere with our enjoyment. If one finds themselves in El Yunque National Forest, a stop to the El Portal Rain Forest Center is essential. The walkway is 60 feet above the ground, taking the visitors on a walk through the treetops. It gave a unique perspective on the canopy. We engaged in a long conversation with a dedicated employee who supplied us with a map and explained to us key features of the road and trails. We shopped in the gift shop, because I wanted to get something for the kids there. There were several educational areas along the walkway, but we were now in a hurry to take in as much as we could before the rain stopped us.
We stopped at the Yokahu tower and climbed to the top to get an aerial view of the area. This is where the top picture came from. We then went to hike along the La Mina Trail (below picture). Since it was raining so hard, and also there was a promise we might be able to get into the water at the La Mina Falls, I changed into my swim suit for the hike. When we got to the falls, about 0.8 miles down the trail, it was raining way too hard and causing the falls to be too intense and dangerous to get into. Normally, the water cascades gently into the natural pool that visitors like to wade in, but there was no one in the water today.
The trail we took went down hill along limestone steps and walkways, which was great fun on the way down. Although I was concentrating on not slipping and falling, I was completely thrilled with the walk. I was very happy to be hiking here this day. The way back was a little bit more difficult, because we had to now go up that hill we just went down. It took us about an hour or so to get there and back. We could hear the coqui frogs singing in the forest but we never saw any. We actually didn’t see any wildlife at all – they were probably all being smart and hiding from the rain.
When we got back to the car, J was done with the whole hiking thing, but I wanted to grab one more geocache so I went just a short way down the Bano de Oro trail by myself. It was very nice, but then I was also ready to go. We drove up to the end of the road, thinking we might hike up to the Mt Britton Tower, but then we decided not to, and elected to drive back and hit up the Loquillo food kiosks for the second time that day.