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Reserva Los Cedros: Cloud Forest Reserve in Cotacachi, Part 3

Reserva Los Cedros: Cloud Forest Reserve in Cotacachi, Part 3

The calm and pristine beauty of Los Cedros was a welcomed relief for me after what seemed like an endless journey of mud and mules through the rainforests of Ecuador.   For 3 days I had endured a slip-sliding ride in the Toyota along muddy Intag roads, dodging heavy road-building equipment, inching across treacherous bridges and almost turning over at one point.  Although tired, very sore and mule-weary when I arrived at Los Cedros, an evening of rest and good food had me revved up for a bit of exercise the next day.

Scott-and-Holly-in-the-forrest

We hiked through the cloud forest reserve with a guide who pointed out trees, plants, orchids and other flowers.  Some of the orchids were so tiny we would have missed them completely, even if we’d been looking directly at them.   He told us many of the names and I have tried to label some of them, but often I couldn’t understand him or spell what he said.

Trees of Los Cedros

This forest is very different from the Amazon rainforest.  Los Cedros is actually a high altitude rainforest, with peaks that reach as high as 4200 meters.  The cloud forest of Los Cedros derives its name from the enormous cedar trees that once covered the area.

house-of-the-elfs

Luckily there are still some of the old cedars left.

BIG-tree

There are also large trees of other species, such as the fragrant copal.   We gathered the enticing copal nuts because their smell is so heavenly and because the guide told us that the juice inside the nut is good for bad knees.  I wondered if it would ease the pain in my gluteus maximus!

Another tree in Los Cedros is the faubosia, (not sure of the spelling) which has extremely  hard wood.  Our guide recounted that in his grandparents’ day, a young man had to cut down one of these trees in order to show his manhood.

Walking palm

A very interesting tree is the walking palm, which supposedly can change its position.

Holly and Scott in the forrest

This walking palm might have been following Scott and Holly.
I had to walk very slowly on our hike.  First, the trail was very muddy and slick in places as well as steep and narrow as it edged around cliffs.  But if I spent too much time looking down to check my steps, I’d miss a ravishingly beautiful flower.

Orchids – Tiny, Delicate and Rare
As promised several blogs ago, here are finally some pictures of the lovely and rare orchids we found on our hike.

orchid4

mustache-orchid Scaphosepalum  orchids, with tiny yellow and brown spotted leaves and a yellow “Mandarin mustache.”

necklace-of-orchids

violet orchid

Two more beautiful orchids.  This one is of the Dracula family of orchids.

orchid1

Large orchids growing near the Los Cedros dining room.

Unusual Flowers at Los Cedros

white-flowers

red-flower-small

These red trumpet-shaped flowers with large textured green leaves grow along the trails.  They are called kitensi.

Holly-taking-a-picture

red-flower

Holly capturing the beauty of an exotic red flower.

orchid3

orchid2

yellow-to-red-flower

red-long-flower

Other Interesting Shots

fruit

Boroco, a round green fruit shaped like a pomegranate.

bird

This bird is a mascarado.

rusty-shack

Jose’s first house at Los Cedros, now in ruins.

donkeys-in-the-river

The mule ride back to Magdalena Alto where we had left the Toyota.

hill

We say goodbye to the Intag.

red-toyota-with-our-travelers

The end of our trip and return to civilization.
There will be another Los Cedros blog next week of strange plants I photographed in and near the reserve.

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