Steve Waldron's
images and notes


I don't know if you've heard the news
but while Atelopus varius were being re-discovered on the Pacific side of Costa Rica,
I was simultaneously on the Caribbean side chasing the ghosts of Atelopus past along the Rio Atelopus.
I was there to perform a ritual of return- returning one of of Tracy's glow in the dark Atelopus casts to the river.

Of course I take full credit for having conjured up Atelopus in Costa Rica once again.
Next time I'm going to pull a Golden Toad out of my hat.

Besides the extirpated frog voodoo...
I also spoke with the man who named this particular Rio the Rio Atelopus and asked him why he had chosen that name?
He said it was fun to name things and "Atelopus" appealed to his sense of the weird and what was unique about the place.

I asked him to recount anything and everything he could about his Atelopus experiences while on the Rio Atelopus

he said he really wished he had paid more attention to the Atelopus of the Rio Atelopus-
the last one was seen in 1993.

He did recall that though they were never particularly common on the Rio,
Atelopus were so sufficiently abundant that once he had squished one under his knee
when he slipped while making a Rio crossing.

He's worried about that for years ---
perhaps they'd still be around if it weren't for that fateful squishing?

And for a week I was an Atelopus-
I basked on streamside boulders,
tried hard not to get swept downstream and tumble over the waterfall.

I watched the clouds build and gather over the Rio and drop rain and ambled out of the canyon
into the streamside vegetation when the water flowing out of the mountains roared down the channel
like a stampede of muddy white mules.

I heard nothing but riversound and gave up on trying to hear anything else.
I wonder if I dreamt Atelopus dreams- they were simple- just images of the river.
The river flowing by, always the same and always something new.

Tracy Hicks
223 North Shore
Dallas, TX