Well, I have had one day and a good night’s rest to recover from my bike ride with Juan yesterday. Now that my aching knees and feet are less vociferous in their complaints, I am in a better condition to report on some of the things we saw together.
Juan’s family owns quite a bit of acreage on the north side of Punta Charapoto or bikini point as the locals refer to the mountain ridge that juts out into the ocean just north of San Clemente. Access to the land on that side of the point is available only when it is not high tide, so one must time trips around the point to coincide with the tide charts or be prepared to wait if the tide is too high to allow passage. We thought we had that covered as we set out for a two-hour jaunt to see the sites around and above Juan’s family farm.
We started out in fine fashion cutting down to the beach next to one of the fishermen’s access areas and riding on the packed sand northward to the point. About a half mile north of the point Juan turned off the beach and we waded through some soft sand to an access road and a gate. After we got through the gate and locked it back up the riding got considerably tougher.
The good road that Juan had described to me on Thursday was cut into the land with a bulldozer and a front end blade. It did effectively clear the trees and brush, but left heavily rutted loose rocks and gravel which provided little traction, particularly on the sometimes very steep grades. Anyway, my father absolutely hated whiners so I will stop now before crossing over from simply reporting facts to becoming a whiner. Here is a quick shot of what the “good road” looked like on one of the switch backs we rode up.
Even though both of us had bike problems culminating with my chain breaking when we were several miles from the beach, we had a great time. Juan got to show me his property. Juan’s family owns many acres of land that they are in the process of clearing and preparing to farm. As we approached the cleared area near the small river my eyes were drawn to three gigantic ceibo trees standing tall in the clearing.
Juan and I parked out bicycles and walked around that area so that I could get some close up pictures of these magnificent trees.
I know that we have posted numerous pictures of ceibo trees in the past, but these three struck me as particularly majestic. Juan told me that land has been in his family for more than a hundred years and according to his grandfather these ceibo trees were full-grown trees when his great-grandfather got the land.
I took the usual photos of the random branches spreading out into the Ecuadorian sky.
But, what I found most fascinating about these ancient monsters was the girth and unique flares of their bases.
This tree was easily twelve feet or more in diameter with the broad flared base spreading out all around the base. This picture with Juan will give you some perspective of the size of this beauty.
All of the others were equally unique and fascinating.
You might think that you would be able to hunker down into the caress of this tree for shelter in a storm.
But a closer look at the spiny stickers that coat the ancient bark would probably dissuade you from getting too close.
How would you like to shimmy up this trunk?
Not to mention the other residents that call these great ceibos home!
Juan is generally unflappable. Even as our bicycles started to fall apart and we had to carry the broken things back down to the beach he did not get upset. But, when I reached over to tap the bottom of this wasp’s nest to get a few to come on out for pictures, he loudly protested and backed quickly away.
Not to worry – just a few came out and even I had enough good sense to back away without further riling these wasps.
That should do it for today. Tomorrow I will show you some of the scenes taken from above Juan’s family farm.
Today I look forward to a less physically taxing day fixing the chain on my bicycle and enjoying a relaxing day here where…
Life is good in Ecuador.