Cordillera Central Mountains, and runs between the towns of Aibonito and Barranquitas. It is deep and wide, with the Usabon River cascading down the Aibonito side in several breathtaking drops, punctuated by crystal clear mountain pools. There are many groups in Puerto Rico that run tours, and most of them are geared toward the more extreme hiker. Today, we joined our friends at Para La Naturaleza for a more sedate tour that provided us a glimpse of the majestic canyon, and gave us a little more knowledge about the flora and fauna of our new island home
We drove to the Barranquitas side of the canyon and entered the beautifully kept grounds of the Para La Naturaleza property. The volunteers and paid staff have carved out a tastefully manicured haven in the jungle on the side of the canyon.
Being that we're on a tropical island where it's never winter, I was surprised to find a lush poinsettia bush growing right alongside the more tropical plants! All were wearing the droplets from a recent passing rain shower.
We had some time to wander around and drink in the freshness of the mountain air. It's much cooler here than the coastal planes where we live. But even in November, it's still relatively warm in the Caribbean. I took the opportunity to take some photos while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive.
|You can just make out the beginning of the river near the top left of this photo|
We will put this on our list of places to take our visitors in the future! It's an easy walk and the views are very nice.
|Yina stopped many times along the way to tell us about this and that.|
|It's very prickly so walking through it would be painful|
|The red and green lichen attest to the air purity and plentiful rainfall!|
The next awesome thing we learned was that this tree, with its little white "apples" has earned the nickname "autograph" tree, by means of having been used as a sort of "paper" by indigenous tribes.
Cool, right? Oh, but don't eat the apples... during at least a portion of their lives, they are poisonous!
Here again, Yina had a photo from long ago. She told us that over to the right, there was a cliff that was used as a trash dump for decades. People would just back up the trash trucks and dump everything into the ravine! Pretty short-sighted if you ask me! But eventually, people wised up and they've even cleaned up much of it. It's pretty much jungle down there anyway!
|This was an old pic of the trash dump area!|
|There's a face in the rock cliff. Can you see it? I think I can!|
|Another shot at one of the falls across the canyon!|
|A fallen Maga flower, the national symbol of Puerto Rico!|
|The thorns of a young Ceiba Tree|
|My little Arbol de Navidad!|
|YUM! Packed with meat!|
|La Piedra de Algarrobo|
A nice drive home, and this wonderful day of exploration is at an end. And I've got my little Christmas tree to show for it. I had been fretting about what sort of tree we would have for this first Christmas in our new home. Funny how things just work out.
Canyon San Cristobal is a natural treasure here on the island. Maybe some day I'll figure out a way to get us down there without having to work too hard. But for now, A glimpse will have to do!