A visit to the Jama-Coaque Reserve, Christmas 2012

What a delight it was to visit the reserve for the Christmas Holidays.  Anne and I were in Ecuador for the first time. Our son Ben has been there since March and our daughter Erin arrived 2 weeks before we did. It was a wonderful reunion!

We descended from Quito towards Santo Domingo and on to Pedernales. The extent of lowland deforestation was immediately obvious, was impressive in its extent, and was disheartening.

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The reserve and the Bamboo House were a welcome sight after seeing  what is called “progress”. We were greeted at the house by Lista – the house cat. She was happy to have companions back in the reserve. The house was very comfortable and we enjoyed taking in the sights and sounds of the forest at our feet. After a brief tour we started pizza dough rising, and settled into the house for a couple of days.  The quiet serenity was broken  only by the surrounding howler monkeys.  We fired up the brick oven and had delicious pizza for dinner.

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We were also greeted by some of the local colorful birds. These two were regular close visitors as were a number of hummingbirds.

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On Christmas Day we went for a hike into the reserve. The vegetation is quite dense. We are at the end of the dry season. There were few mosquitoes or other insects, the humidity was low and we had a nice trek for a couple of hours on the trails. It seems that many of the old growth trees had been harvested some time ago, and the new growth needs time to mature.

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We saw a recent addition to the reserve that is scheduled for planting in the next few months. Restoring a rainforest from cleared land is an ultimate exercise in patience.  I felt fortunate to have been able to visit and have a wonderful Christmas Holiday with my family!

Bruce Bowman

Glastonbury, Connecticut

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