Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's funny how often times in life the things we aren't looking forward to at all turn out to be the most rewarding. This weekend was another of our science field trips. We went to Cerre de la Muerte (Close to Death) which is a mountain about two hours from San Jose. Prior to going, I was told how cold it would be. My Tica mom said I would need to pack all of my jackets and that the people who live there have red cheeks from the cold. I just couldn't believe that here in Central America that such a place existed. On top of not liking science or cold weather, I am still sick. All of this combined being said, I just didn't want to go.
However, this may be one of my favorite excursions we have had. Saturday we drove to the site, but on our way stopped for a qucik hike. We made our way through swamplands on the side of a mounting to see the highest mountain bog in Costa Rica. It was a lot of fun for us to all be wearing our waterboots and slosh through mud and jump puddles that were up to our waist of muddy water. Then we observed hummingbirds at the feeder inorder to label how many of each species were present in the area, built nets to catch the hummingbirds early the next morning, and collected flowers in order to sample what flowers are being pollenated by the hummingbirds. That night was my sorority's (Alpha Chi Omega) semi-formal back in North Carolina. Everyone knew I was kind of bummed about missing it, so we all had a fake semi-formal in the research lodge. We picked dates and danced in the cafeteria, took silly pictures, and stayed up late just hanging out. It was actually a lot of fun! When it was time to go to bed, I was shocked at how cold it was. The research center didn't have any heat and it was in the 20's F. I slept with Caroline, under lots of blankets, wearing lots of layers, and was still cold. We had to wake up early the next morning to complete our hummingbird research. We observed another round of feedings, caught humming birds in our nets, dusted off their faces for pollen, examined the pollen found under a microscope, and then compared that pollen with the flowers in the area. My favorite part was holding the hummingbirds; it was so neat to have such a little bird in my hands. The ultimate question we were trying to answer was whether or not hummingbird feeders have an affect of the pollenation of flowers in an area. After packing up all of the equipment and eating lunch, we headed back down the mountain back to San Jose. Of course we stopped for another quick hike on the way. It was probably the steepest mountain side and we hiked to the top! It was so much fun encouraging each other and enjoying the gorgeous view once we made it. Our professor led a quick science lesson and then Eric taught people how to meditate. I separated from the group during the meditation to sit on the edge of the mountain top alone. It was so great to have such a spectacular scene surrounding me and spend some quality time with God. There have been countless times on this trip where He has just taken my breath away with the beauty He created and this was definately one of them.

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