|Calentura National Park
|A wild ride down the Mt. Calentura road
During our stay in Trujillo, we had the good fortune to bump into some of the FUCAGUA staff who are entrusted with the Calentura National Parks. When they heard we were putting Trujillo on the web, they invited us on a trip to the top of Mount Calentura via the road buildt by the U.S Army Core of Engineers during the Contra era of the '80's.
We set out early in the morning in a diesel truck which rapidly hoisted us into scenic elevations. The mountain jungle canopy is dense, affording welcome shade as we made the transition between the regular and the higher cloud cover forest. Few autos travel this road; since FUCAGUA became empowered, they have reigned in travel by car to take some pressure off the indiginous wildlife.
Suddenly we are hemmed in by giant ferns, some of their fonds reaching twenty five feet in length. Butterflies occationally flitter across the road and birds are ever present. The canopy echoes with their calls and cries; we catch occational glimpses of their beautiful plumage as they flitter between trees.
At the top of the mountain is a former army post, abandoned now just like the war. There is no doubt about it; the lack of military instalations at this beautiful location is a definate enhancement to the surroundings. Now, only "Radio Catolica" and "Hondutel" have any presence here.
The view is truly spectacular; I have seldom seen a more awesome view in my life. Below us, trujillo is a mere spot nestled in the bay. Laguna Guaymoreto shimmers in the suns reflection. Peasents have just begun clearing, so the burning vegetation affords just enough substance so we can appreciate the depth of the vista; to the east I count no less than nine mountain ridges, one behind the other.
We eagerly drink in the view until it is time to drive down the mountain. On the way down, our guide cheerfully tells us that only a few weeks ago a car went over the edge. Our downward trip is very, very exciting!
At the base of the mountain are many small pools of water. Small birds flitter about while cranes wade about, stalking prey. At night, the sounds are incredible.
The FUCAGUA organization is in it's infancy; they have just received monies to get the parks department going and they have a long road ahead of them, but they seem to have planned their approach well.
Mount Calentura and it's jungle canopy.
Laguna Guaymoreto, a saltwater lagoon famous for it's birdlife.
Trujillo Beaches; wonderful
sandy beaches lined with palm trees.
Rather than strong-arming the local encroaching population, FUCAGUA
intends to defend the forest by degrees. FUCAGUA looks at the park as a
central core with a two kilometer boundery. Local inhabinants may no longer
chop down trees in the boundery area, but they are allowed - for the time
being - to gather dead wood on the forest floor.
FUCAGUA employees - paid for the first time last month - have several projects
in mind; hiking trails, local environmental education, cleaner beaches
(The boundery zone reaches past Trujillo, right down to the beach).
The organization's funds are divided between Education, Maintenence and
Enforcement the three of which make up the FUCAGUA organization. The park
consists of three parts:
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