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Day 1 - 2013 Feb 2 Exploration of 14km Tradewinds Trail Wilderness in El Yunque Rainforest (El Yunque National Forest) in Puerto Rico by explorer Raul Garcia of Yunque.Store. The website is https://www.yunque.store/.
Ever wonder how was the world before Humans came and created countries, cities and societies, pollution, wars - languages and all that ugly mess?
This is IT - PURE UNTAMED BEAUTY - recorded in detail in seven 15 min videos made from over 1,500 high resolution photos of non-stop explorations in the deep rain forest.
See the true UNSTRUCTURED crazy and wild nature, how rivers are born etc.
This is NOT an animals video - El Yunque is too wet for that - at over 180 inches per year - mostly frogs and crickets survive here... It is an incredible mass of green which seems impossible to penetrate. But I did - step by step - carefully marking my way back/forth - Raul.
Image rights: Raul Garcia - Yunque Store 2013 Cannon rebel camera 24MP.
An excellent background video - Old pal - is from these explorations:
This exploration final outcome is documented in the canvas products:
Raul camped in the 14km Tradewinds trail alone for 8 days from Feb 2 to Feb 8 of 2013. Note that this was well before Hurricane Maria decimated the forest canopy with 140MPH winds for 12 hrs in 2017. The purpose was just to document the wildest sections of the forest, actually a Federally declared protected forest Wilderness (Toro Negro Wilderness etc.) by the USFS.
There is also photography of the closed side of PR 191 and forests next to the road - a region closed due to a huge landslide. It's about 2.5 hr walk.
The Tradewinds trails crosses El Toro Peak and meets El Toro Trail. In the middle it meets Rio Sabana Trail. After the hurricane only El Toro has been prepared for visitors - the others are a wilderness now filled with a plant that cuts the skin and is not a pleasant or easy walk anymore...
So the forest then was very dark due to the thick canopy. Many images were improved manually using color-curves adjustment to bring the details due to the darkness of the forest. In many images we see the trail - Tradewinds trail - that was then in a good condition. This unique trail crosses the park completely if we continue or include the El Toro trail, they both meet in the highest peak of the park at 3,524 feet. It has full visibility to the east side and Naguabo/Humacao region, and is less foggy. References from USFS:
The El Toro Wilderness - The wild trails of El Yunque - a side comment:
El Toro trail will have little or no traffic - it's little known. The other larger trail that is open is La Coca trail just after the La Coca falls with 2-3 parking spots.
This hike is the one safe hike we can recommend to visitors of Puerto Rico, in vacation, bird or nature photography.
The El Toro Wilderness:
Many other images are the 1st explorations into the birth of the Espiritu Santo River - documenting how the river is formed from underground water flows below huge boulders. Many show various extreme degrees of erosion since this region is over 2,500 feet and receives over 180 inches of rain per year due to the humidity from the Tradewinds winds from Africa.
The region of this trail is also a Cloud Forest - often covered with fog and often an ever present cloud cover that keeps the region wet at all times and all year around. Thus we see most trees and branches and plants covered with moss.
We see many Sierra Palms, Palo Colorados and many other trees, Bromeliads, Ferns, Moss all of many types and sizes depending on sunlight and location. For example when they grow on a boulder their size is limited. Boulders are often very large - often the size of a large room or house. In many on the river bed water flows below them all year.
The park is accessed via PR-191 from the main road PR-3 and the fastest access from SJ is the express PR-66. The near 30,000 acre park as 8,000 of unspoiled forest over 2,500 feet and we document this here in detail.
El Yunque National Forest Atlas by USDA/IITF on 2018
We have in yunque.store many blogs on the forest, such as:
Us and El Yunque forest:
Common questions - what to do in El Yunque and around:
Hurricane Maria - a time lapse:
The Old Pal collection explains how we convert images into POD products: