Day after day we spend hours with our backs arched sifting through leaf litter, and under the cloak of darkness we enter the forest to scour leaves and trunks illuminated by the white cone of light projected from our headlamps, willing a brilliant yellow and chocolate brown salamander to appear in front of us. We talk about how amazing it would be to find a Jackson's Salamander, and we even allow ourselves, with a jolt of adrenaline, to imagine the prospect.
But the vision remains tantalizing. The enigmatic Jackson's Climbing Salamander eludes us.
Before leaving the remote reaches of the Cuchumatanes locals from a small town proudly present us with a salamander that they found close by. It is a beautiful Müller's Mushroom-tongue Salamander, Bolitoglossa mulleri, an uncommon chocolate brown animal with a splash of yellow running down it's back, as if it had walked under a leaky tin of royal yellow paint. It is the closest we will come on this expedition to seeing Jackson's Climbing Salamander.