Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge

Where it all started with Ben ~ Croton discolor
When Ben came to Puerto Rico in 2005 to collect plants during graduate school, he visited Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge and took pictures of the salt flats and those cool wooden trucks. We showed Pieter the pictures this spring and when we got here he was very eager to see them. We finished up cleaning our house this week and are still waiting on the truck, so we decided to go exploring yesterday.

Within a half hour of driving south of Mayaguez the landscape started drying up. We started seeing cacti everywhere and the tall trees disappeared into fields with grazing cattle. It was almost like we had driven back into South Dakota. We found the refuge, just on the southern coast, and climbed the tower, but the real fun was climbing the piles of sea salt. We grabbed a bag full of sea salt for home and then drove along the refuge area to the water. It was very different than the west side of the island, full of mangroves. I was dismayed to see how much trash was caught in the vegetation. I think we might have to leave trash bags in the car and fill up a bag every time we are out. I'll definitely have to come back with binoculars and a bird book to enjoy this special place.

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