After breakfast, we had the opportunity to take advantage to what was billed as horseback riding but soon discovered it was much more than that. We traveled to a local Costa Rican farm that is typical in this area and got to experience all the daily activates that occur on a farm but compressed into several hours for our visit. We were welcomed by the entire family which seemed to included several generations. We immediately were taken into the large pig pen and got to see all the new piglets that Dale immediately gravitated to. We witnessed the feeding of the pigs, glanced over the fence at the 2 baby crocodiles resting on a log at the edge of the river, and then heading into the barn for our chance to milk a cow. After everyone had that experience, a cup of fresh warm milk was passed around for those brave enough to try it.
Two oxen were brought out and hitched to an extremely old 2 wheeled cart and then we headed off for a ride around the farm. We leisurely traveled through several river beds, across open pastures, and settled under a huge mango tree, loaded with green fruit. The owner had brought along a bag of salt so we could have the full experience but the tart sour taste was a bit much for some of us to handle. After a rough and bumpy ride, we all had a small glimpse into the world of our pioneer ancestors, traveling in wagons with no shocks or struts to absorb the rough terrain.
Now it was time to get back to the barn to get saddled up for horseback riding, the last adventure for the day. We were lead from the barn, back through the small river and out for a leisurely ride on the open pasture. We also got to witness the wrangling of the cattle using the other horses and dog, to bring the cows back to the barn. A young calf had gotten stuck in the gooey mire of the river and then witnessed the rancher dragging it back up to safety. A very easy ride yet Carol ended up with blisters that are very hard to explain ...We will keep you in suspense as the location of these said blisters!
After returning back to the research center, we had our typical dinner, grabbed a quick nap, and then back to the patrolling of the beaches for more nesting turtles. Our hopes were high for the evening but as the hours went by and high tide was leaving, we knew our chances of seeing a leatherback were slim. After another quiet night, we packed up our gear and headed back to the center. As with every evening, we are taking turns on different parts of the beach but because Dale was having so much trouble with her feet, she was put In charge in hatchery duty for the evening. After everyone was back to the house for a while except Dale, we got a little worried. The hatchery is walking distance to the house and she should have been back to the center about the same time as the rest of us. Did those nasty raccoons take her down? Did she meet up with the local crocodile? Did the howler monkeys gang up on her? After fretting for a while, Carol knocked on the door of the biologists and asked if all the leads were back and he said they were so he said he would try and track her down. He radioed back to the beach to the next person on hatchery patrol and yes, Dale was still there. She had gotten caught up in conversation and then mesmerized by the sunset so no harm had come to sweet Dale!