Monday, November 10, 2014

Costa Rica - Our First Volcano

We set out in our tour bus for Poas volcano. Along the way, traveling through lush tropical foliage, our guide treated us to a multitude of facts and figures about Costa Rica. A country of 5 million people, 65% of them live in a single valley in and around the nation's capitol. They are a very eco- conscious nation. Everything possible is recycled, even cattle waste, which is converted into an energy source. The volcano formed mountain ranges are protected zones to help keep the air and water of the entire country as pure as possible. Residents that leave portions of their property in it's natural state are compensated by the government for doing so.

A special, unexpected moment was provided by a man driving his oxcart along the road we were using. The hand painted, one of a kind, painted wood yoke around the beasts necks was a beautiful example of the nations folk art.

At an elevation of close to 9000 feet there is only a 30% chance of the volcano's crater being visible due to constant fog and could cover. An eruption 2 weeks before had closed the volcano to visitors all together. It had reopened only 2 days prior to our arrival.

The day was clear, the sky a beautiful blue. Our guide instructed us that if the current conditions held when we arrived at the site we should get to the crater's edge as quickly as possible to take advantage of the rare chance to see into the volcano. We raced the short distance from the parking lot to the crater. The crater was presented to us in stunning clarity. The jagged rock walls surrounding the pool of gray magma were a kaleidoscope of colors created by the chemicals emitted by the volcano. It reminded me of the sights I had experienced in Yellowstone. A column of steam arose from the seemingly impossibly hot pool. A gentleman next to me told me that the clouds had cleared just 10 minutes before we had arrived. Along one wall of the pool a section of rock looked as if it had been stained a bright red. He explained to me that that was not the color of the rock, rather it was superheated by the hot liquid it helped contained and glowed red hot.The sight lasted no more than 20 minutes before clouds moved in once again obscuring this marvel of nature.

We left the crater felling incredibly fortunate to have experienced the seldom seen sight. Somedays I am a Lucky Traveler indeed! 

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