Chile…cloud forest

So I promised Karin a post about the cloud forest…. Parque Nacional Fray Jorge is a UNESCO Heritage Site located 40 kilometers off the Pan-American highway, roughly due west of Ovalle. The road to it is better marked than the other parks we tried to find and they have put in a very nice visitor center. We were surprised by the number of school buses there. The forest is a small part of the protected area and it makes a remarkable contrast to the surrounding arid landscape.Unfortunately it is almost impossible to photograph, as it is cloudy, dense and overwhelmingly green, but there is a boardwalk through part of it and a walking path through another.

20121126-150433.jpgSo as you can see no brilliant photographing of the green from me, I got some shoots of individual flowers and epiphytes (air plants – always cool), but they’re only interesting if you are identifying plants.
This is why there’s a cloud forest….

20121126-151210.jpgAll that moisture drops out on the seaward side of the hill allowing the forest to thrive. There is another big drop off of moisture further in land, creating an intermediate zone with different flora and better farming and grazing than the area closer to the highway.
This is the side of the hill inland from the cloud forest….

20121126-151424.jpgThis is looking down from the forest. Note the road and the elevation change. They only let six cars a day drive to the top, so as to protect the forest. Remember the school buses…all those kids….they walked. Remember how your mom got volunteered to go on school trips? So do you think they told them about the hill? Probably not.

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