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Brian Mann on a rope and wire bridge above the forest in Costa Rica. Photo: Susan Waters
Brian Mann on a rope and wire bridge above the forest in Costa Rica. Photo: Susan Waters

Costa Rica's jungle, in sound and pictures

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Mud season is a time when droves of people from the North Country flee to other parts of the world, escaping last-minute snow squalls and getting a head start on summer.

This year, our Adirondack bureau chief, Brian Mann, fled the mountains for a week in Costa Rica. He brought back this audio postcard.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

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Remember those little plastic pre-digital devices, the Viewmaster? That little cardboard disc you put in filled with photographs that showed three-dimensional views of the world?

Brian's son, Nicholas Mann, encounters a critter that the locals call a Lazy Dog Lizard. Photo: Susan Waters
Brian's son, Nicholas Mann, encounters a critter that the locals call a Lazy Dog Lizard. Photo: Susan Waters
That's sort of how my memories of Costa Rica fit together. Impressions. Quick glimpses. The smell of a dusty village street in Guanacaste. The taste of Imperial beer in a roadside soda.

Most of my mental snapshots – and this is normal for me — are in sound. So here's my quick Viewmaster slideshow of spring break in Costa Rica.

The "cloud forest" in the high altitudes of Costa Rica is lush with green and thick with mud on the narrow trails. Photo: Susan Waters
The "cloud forest" in the high altitudes of Costa Rica is lush with green and thick with mud on the narrow trails. Photo: Susan Waters
I'm not a birder. And a lot of times I couldn't even see the creatures that were creating these incredible watercolors of sound.

But these Ora pendula, with bright splashes of yellow on their tails, camped right outside my window near the Aerenal volcano.

Other times, I'd just be hiking down a trail, swimming through sound. The birds and the frogs at dusk. On one trek, deep in the jungle, I came across a family of howler monkeys.

Often, the jungle is so thick that it's hard to see the creatures that are making lush, rhythmic sounds.  Photo: Susan Waters
Often, the jungle is so thick that it's hard to see the creatures that are making lush, rhythmic sounds. Photo: Susan Waters
I've always loved the hot summer sound of cicadas. In Costa Rica the rhythm goes to another level.

One of the coolest moments in my trip was traversing a wire and rope bridge across a deep rivine high in the jungle – a bridge that put you at eye level with the high canopy of the forest.

High up in the cloud forest, the green was dense as spilled paint, the trails thick with viscous mud.

Crouched under leaves as wide as kayak paddles, I sat on the bank of Rio Celeste watching the rain pelt down.

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