Muddy Hiking boots – Yes
Tired Legs- Yes
Big smile – Yes
Learn something new – Yes
See any jaguars – No
Unfortunately we didn’t spot any jaguars but we got far more from being here than I was expecting. I am still learning about the history of how this, the worlds first Jaguar preserve came into being. Very often when I visit a place like this I can forget that it may not always have been this way. We have been lucky to spend time with some of the people involved in the original study that lead to the area becoming a reserve.
We had good hiking along the trails in the reserve, most notably on Tiger Fern Trail which ends in a waterfall. But it was ultimately the company of our guide, Juilan Chan (brother of Gregario) that made the greatest impact. Talking modestly throughout the day about his involvement in the jaguar study and occasionally giving us glimpses of what daily life was like for him growing up in the jungle.
When we were having lunch we bumped into a man looking for a lift out of the reserve. Throughout the conversation he mentioned seeing a plane wreck in the reserve and told us the story he had heard about it. Turns out Julian, was one of the people involved in the recovery of the plane from the trees it crashed into originally and the story went on to be quite different, so we stopped to take a look and he told us his story.
Made me think it’s all about knowing what questions to ask and showing respect for those that have the answers.