El Yunque

Steve, Anne and Chris on the trail.

Steve, upper left, looking over the forest.

One of the really cool things we did in Puerto Rico was hike in El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest in the US National Forest system.  It's in the mountains outside of Humacao, on the eastern side of the island.  We rented a car for 2 days, which was an experience in itself (lots of roads that either aren't on the map or aren't where they're supposed to be and not many road signs), and drove to where we thought the Visitor's Center should be.  We drove up and up and up, through the bamboo and finally came to a stop when we got to a padlocked arm across the road.  A man was there waiting and after a few minutes, a work crew showed up. At this point, it was discovered that the map of the park had a little N in the upper corner with a DOWN  arrow next to it. It was south up and we were at the opposite end of the road we wanted.  Not a problem, you'd think, just drive through the park and start at the other end, what's a couple miles? Ha! It seems that the bridge in the middle of the park, on the only road,  fell down some years ago and has never been replaced.  So it would be a trip around outside the park on the sign less roads, maybe 40 miles, maybe 60, there was some discussion, to get to the Visitor's Center.  We decided to stay where we were and hike on the less traveled end of the trails.  It was beautiful and quiet and cool and very wet.
El Yunque is a finalist in the New Seven Wonders of Nature competition and you can vote or just check out the other finalists here.

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