Yesterday we took the chance to explore the island by car. The highlight of our short trip was a visit to the El Yunque National Forest–the only tropical rainforest run by the US Forest Service. We were lucky to be there on a day when the wind was blowing mostly from the south, the opposite from the normal trade winds, so even at the higher elevations it was not raining. Even though it wasn’t actively raining, it was not in any way “dry”! The area we chose to explore on foot was a palm forest. It was quite noisy as the huge palm fronds thrashed each other overhead in even the slightest breeze.
Everything was green, if it wasn’t green it was a flower. Karen would pick out the orchids hanging from the various trees. Unfortunately none were in bloom. Every where you heard the constant call of the coqui, the tiny tree frog with the onomatopoeic name that is native to the island. Like many rain forests, precipitation levels and temperatures vary greatly with elevation, and exposure direction so that each hill has its own individual eco system.