For those of you that can't keep up with what we're up to (don't worry, I can't either - it takes me a minute to remember where I am when I wake up every morning), we are now in Ecuador for three months to be managers of a nature reserve. That means that we take care of the cabin, trails, water system, etc for the reserve, as well as doing publicity around town and keeping up the blog (lastangaras.wordpress.net); taking care of visitors, hiking in materials, fuel, and food (serious job, here - it's 3 km up the road from town, and then 2 km down a muddy trail - so even if we get a ride to the trailhead, we still have to haul stuff in the last 2 km); doing some data collection for bird research; feeding hummingbirds; etc etc etc. For this work, we get free lodging, a food stipend, and the chance to live and work in a cloud forest in a quiet, beautiful cabin. Not a terribly bad deal, really.
We made it on December 5th, with no big hitches, to Las Tangaras Nature Reserve in Mindo, Ecuador, as planned. We met the last managers of the Reserve, Micah and Jaime and their three-year-old son, Never (who called Jeff "grandpa" - hah!), as planned. They took off on the 7th, as planned. Then, not as planned, the bridge broke.
|Hey - I don't think it's supposed to hang like that...|
|In the US, this would be a duct tape and chewing gum fix. Here, those aren't available, so it's rope and wire.|
|Welcome! And caution!|
But hey, our cabin and the reserve are worth the trip. Why I don't have a picture of the outside yet, I don't know, but here's the inside:
|The downstairs, with the kitchen in the background.|
|The upstairs, looking into the area where guests sleep.|
We feed the hummingbirds daily, and record the species we see come by:
|Yah know, honey, you could sit down while eating...|
|My, what a long tail you have...|
|Sorry, dude, for putting that window in your way.|
But so far, no casualties.
We have already had a couple friends visit! Jeff's friend from junior high, Nathan, and his girlfriend, Sarah, came to Ecuador and made time to come all the way to Mindo for a couple nights. Whoo hoooo! Nathan kind of giggled when we asked if he wanted to take a machete along to help us do some trail maintenance while we hiked a bit:
|Boys and their big knives. Sheesh.|
|Jeff shows off his jungle skillz.|
|Bring it on!|
And now I must get off the internet so we can get back to the reserve before dark. Slip sliding away!