“Are you Bob?” I asked reaching out to shake the hand of the owner Bed, Breakfast and Microbrewery at Lago de Yajoa.  “And is it true that you’re from Timber?”

He looked at me quizzically.  “I’m from Gales Creek,” I added.

Then he looked at me as if I had three heads, turned to a friend and said, “These are not big towns we’re talking about.”

They’re hardly towns at all.  Nestled in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range, Gales Creek has an official population of about 650 people.  At its height, it had a couple of taverns, a store, a volunteer fire station, a school and a church.  Most of that’s no longer functioning.  Timber, about seven miles away is even smaller, with a population of 131.  But it has a stop sign where the train tracks cross the highway, so that makes it more official.

And now I was at Lago de Yojoa, in the middle of Honduras, introducing myself to Bob From Timber.

This kind of thing happens all the time.  My parents (from the same booming metropolis of Gales Creek) met a couple from the next valley over in an elevator in Shanghai.  And prior to introducing myself to Bob, I’d met two young men from Vernonia, another Coast Range town (a “big city” of 2,000 people, located 15 miles from Timber). Maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise.  I’d met quite a few people from the Pacific Northwest traveling in Central America – all of us enjoying being warm in February.  And of course, when the guidebook says that an”Oregonian Brewmaster” has set up a good place to stay, we flock there like flies on shit.  But you just don’t expect to meet people from places that small, that far away.  Traveling makes the world seem bigger and smaller at the same time.

Dominic Sherony's photo of a Gartered Trogon.

Gartered Trogon. Photo by Gartered Trogon.

Lago de Yajoa is for the Birds

I’m a baby birder (it’s me that’s the baby, not the birds).  I don’t really know anything about bird watching, but a friend’s enthusiasm has leaked over and I’m starting to get into it.  I like being in nature, trying to refine my powers of observation, and being dazzled by the brilliant colors.

Lago de Yajoa is home to around 400 species of birds.  Sitting in the courtyard, sipping my beer, I met up with a naturalist who takes folks out on bird watching tours at the lake.

I saw five different kinds of toucans that day and learned, to my delight, that the Spanish word for woodpecker is “carpintero”.  (And saw three different kinds of carpinteros.)

Adalberto.H.Vega' s photo of a keel-billed toucan. Like one I saw at Lago de Yajoa.

Toucan! Like one I saw at Lago de Yajoa. Photo by Adalberto.H.Vega.

The area around Lago de Yajoa includes three National Parks and a 43 meter waterfall.  You should go there.  (Even if you’re not from a microscopic town in western Oregon.)


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