It all started with a girl’s enthusiasm towards birds.
Terra Hope Filmer. She is a biology intern. I get to spend a lot of time with her because I share a room in the city with her as well as the tent in our base camp. Her passion towards nature and all sorts of creatures especially birds is incredible. Not that I don’t love nature, but I’ve been learning a lot from her about things I never paid attention to in nature. For example, birds. At least in my eyes, all birds in the world were classified into 4 different categories: big birds, small birds, black birds and colorful birds. So when she told me that the bird I was looking at through her binoculars was called blue crown mot mot, I was like, “blue.. what..? ma..ma..?”
Anyway, I was trying to figure out what kind of projects I should work on for this semester, so I thought maybe it would be beneficial to all of us if we could build hiking trails and bird watching huts along the trail as my outdoor recreation project. Hiking and bird watching are recreation activities that anyone can participate in, and also bird watching huts would help biology interns study nature!
Therefore, some other interns and I went on a field research to find suitable locations to build hiking trails and bird watching huts.
This is a part of the map of the future Kalu Yala community I found in the master plan.
There are a lot of cattle paths around the base camp that leads to the top of the hill and it takes about 10-15 minutes to get there. Most of the cattle paths are located on the north side of the base camp, where the future agriculture area will be built on. So we thought maybe we could create a new hiking trail so we don’t have to go through the agriculture area.
↑ Maybe like this….?
“Do you guys wanna see if we can find a cattle path to go to the top from the south side?”
“Yeah! Why not?!”
“Ok, let’s go!!”
It was a NO BUENO IDEA……………..
None of us knew that we had to hike up through the jungle… literally THE JUNGLE… for three hours…..
Lots of plants with lots of spikes on them…
Lots of insects biting us…
and ridiculously thicker…
And finally we made it to the top….!!! (after three hours of struggle, when it was supposed to be only a 15 minute hike)
I found a lot of incredible things on the top that I wanted to share with others.
And there are many more.. such as birds that I didn’t take a picture of, because I was too tired from the 3 hours of intense power hiking. Anyhow, we were excited to share this experience with fellow interns, and also we were missing out on the yummy lunch Johnny made, so we decided to go back to the base camp. However, going down wasn’t easy either. There were just too many cattle paths, and we didn’t know which one to take to go down!
Is it this way?………………………. NO
Is it that way?……………………… Nah~
It must be this way!……………………….. NOPE!
Let us know where to go….
“Gosh! We need some sort of signs along these cattle paths!!! They are just too confusing!” ………… and we looked at each other… “Hey.. actually that’s a good idea..! That could be our project for this semester!”
So, Zac, Terra and I decided to make a team called Honeycreeper and work on the project together this semester. The project is to create hiking trails to go to the top of the hill as well as bird watching huts and signs along the trails.
(Honeycreeper is a type of bird that we can see every morning at our base camp according to Terra)
So, last week, we walked on as many cattle paths as possible with Terra’s GPS in search of the best route for hiking trails and bird watching huts. As a result, we found a route that 1) we don’t have to go through the future agriculture area or the bathroom, 2) goes along Pacora river with some beautiful scenic areas, and 3) doesn’t overlap with trenches (that are muddy in the rainy season).
Our plan for next week is to finalize the map, name trails, and start clearing the area. Also, we are going to start making trail signs and building bird watching huts the following week. I am super excited to work on this project with these bad ass team members throughout the semester!
Go Team Honeycreeper!!! 😀