The morning air was cool and the sun shone from an intense blue sky. The trees were huge! Lichens, bromeliads, ferns and mosses coated every undisturbed surface forming a fuzzy green fantasy land. A narrow road cut back and forth down the mountain. At every switchback a new vista left me with mouth agape. Our destination was the Chacon Family Farm, a 10-mile hike down the valley at 7,200 feet. The cabins for fishermen were primitive and cold, but without them we would have never discovered this special secluded place.

Dirt is, in many eyes, nothing more than the disreputable home of disease. After all, our old friends tetanus, E. coli, hookworm, and numerous other bacteria and parasites reside in dirt. Thus we have learned to view dirt with scorn, or at the very least with a certain degree of apathy. Dirt on our clothes is a most lamentable occurrence, requiring a hearty helping of bleach in conjunction with hours of toil and labor in the laundry room. In our eyes, dirt is generally more trouble than it’s worth.