Red Eyes

Location: Upala, Costa Rica

It was the pitch black of night. My stomach was queasy after an excessively drenched tiramisu, and my entire body ached from the long hike the previous day. They were only minor nuisances though. My excitement kept those pains at the back of my mind.

Gripping my dim flashlight, my hand swept through the air. Leaves dripping heavily with condensation and brilliant white hibiscus flowers were revealed. But flowers were not what I was looking for.

I sighed and shook my head as a few members of my group began to indulge themselves in a somewhat loud conversation. If I were a wild animal, I’d surely have scampered off with fingers in my ears. Thankfully, our guide saw fit to tell them off; he had made it very clear earlier that as little noise as possible was to be made.

I continued to wave my light in hopes of finding anything more than dripping leaves and bright petals, but it seemed the chattering bunch trailing along behind had scared them all off.

A sudden shriek caught my attention, and I, along with the rest of the group, came running over to see what had been found. I smiled, whereas the others stepped back with grimaces on their faces. It was a rather large spider!

Cupiennius (Wandering Spiders)

And on a plant next to the giant spider’s resting place, I spotted a tiny tree frog lazing on a leaf.

I had chosen to join this night hike in hopes of adding a red-eyed tree frog to my photo collection. This particular one was not a red-eye, but it was exciting to see, nonetheless. It raised my excitement to a whole new level.

Dozens of croaks called us over to a nearby pond. At our guide’s instruction, we tiptoed the whole way, just to be sure we didn’t send any of the frogs leaping into the cover of the murky water.

The pond was a lively place, loaded with all sorts of frogs and other animals. I couldn’t contain my excitement. I crept over to the frogs, on-by-one, and with my light in one hand and my Iphone8 in the other, I added each and every one to my collection.

The pond itself was alive with bustling froglets, which were very fun to watch. But one thing in particular caught my eye. Something large.

South American Snapping Turtle

As amazing as the pond was, there were no signs of any red-eyed tree frogs. I knew it wouldn’t be right to feel bad, especially after all the amazing things I had seen, but still, I really wanted to see at least one of the infamous animals.

I left the pond with my head held high, my flashlight dancing in circles, and my eyes pierced. And almost instantly I was greeted with a pair of beady red eyes.

Red-eyed Tree Frog

I couldn’t believe it! And to my utmost surprise, it wasn’t the only one. They were everywhere!

I watched intently as one maneuvered through the leaves, and was amazed at how long its legs were.

It was amazing! In fact, I would be happy to call it one of my favourite hikes ever. And I had been on a lot of hikes.

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