About Us and El Yunque
Somehow we tend to miss the details … like the image of the decaying leaves.
And eventually we will come to realize, that our lives take meaning when we are calmer and again rediscover the BEAUTY in the all obvious DETAILS all around us. The beauty of the people, of the clouds and sky, the ground plants, the sensations of the wind, the sense of touch and all sensations, ideas that come and go, feelings etc.
It was just a step in the 14 KM Tradewinds trail, but at some point in my explorations I look around for all the obvious and small things - and capture them with my camera. This - the ground below me was it - the simple leafs on it, a history of the fallen leaves of the forest, they document all the species above.
In Puerto Rico El Yunque rain forest is a jewel filled with mystery and wonder, also with fear of getting lost there. It is far more immense that we believe. People have been lost years ago never to appear again! The steepness of the ground, the low visibility, the dense vegetation, the huge boulders, endless rivers with trunks and large boulders on the way all can conspire for accidents.
El Yunque is basically a huge drainage place - that is why there are some many boulders full of moss, bromeliads and often a Sierra Palm on top. There are no flat places on this rain forest - with over 180 inches of rain. The cloud forest - over 2,500 feet is 99% humidity all day long.
The 4 large peaks (El Yunque, El Toro, East Peak and El Cacique) survived the erosion of millions of years and 100 Billions gallons of water per year because they are crystalized minerals from ancient volcanos - very hard materials. The rest of the ground just melts in the rain. But then the millions of roots hold the ground firmly. And most cities and beaches nearby are the result of millions of years of erosion from this center of endless rainfall from the African Trade-Winds (Vientos Alisios).
It all started when I was taken for the 1st time to the upper - unspoiled forest. I had a sudden vision -- the whole place because a LIVING MASS OF COLORS. It had to touch my heart - since the love affair never ended. All visitors do experience some of this … to the degree they can leave their mind behind.
From the start I took photos of the forest. As technology advanced I saw in 2013 an opportunity to document, in a scientific way, every detail of this forest. Now over 10K images later, I believe I am only starting. Then Hurricane Maria came totally unexpected, and decimated the forest canopy. A new world arose here.
I have a spiritual background and try to simplify my life (if this is possible?). Therefore I don't drive or own cars. So my family has many times taken me to the forest, and picked me up after a week, hungry and wasted. My sons also sometimes came with me - Jose and Miguel. All have helped in many ways...
I am now working on Microsoft in MOPR Humacao - near Naguabo. There is an entrance to EYNF via PR 191 - the other side that was split via a huge landslide in the 70's. Thus I now go a lot to Rio Sabana park and explore that way.
My profession is software engineer, but my studies are a Masters in Mathematics from UCSD in SD CA. I also have studied mechanical engineering - graduate level and worked on aerospace companies in PR and many other while I lived for 13 years in the Silicon Valley, where I hanged out in their forest in Santa Cruz.
The deepest experiences were when I was ordained as a Theravada Buddhist monk in the TKAM Monastery in Boulder Creek, under the guidance of Taunpulu Sayadu from Burma. But that another long story …
These monks make a vow to live and practice in the forest - following the Buddhas teachings and example for over 2,500 years!