Previously, on CHASING DREAMS, I wrote about my first experiences during my trip to Costa Rica – specifically the onslaught of the sleep depriving “Men, Men, Men.” Today I want to move on to the “Mud” portion of my adventure.
The rainforests in Costa Rica can be categorized into three groups: tropical rainforest, cloud forest and tropical dry forest. The dry forests are found on the North Pacific Coast but our visit centered around the Atlantic lowlands and southwest where primarily tropical rainforests are found. A hiking excursion offered an opportunity to see close-up the up the lush vegetation, lagoons, waterfalls, ancient felled trees overgrown with iridescent green moss and mushrooms and an astounding array of creepy crawlers. There are also three-toed sloths (which, btw also are covered with an iridescent sheen – but rather than moss they are riddled with parasites so DO NOT TOUCH!) monkeys, amphibians, reptiles, toucans, hummingbirds, and other stunningly colored birds. There are even jaguars roaming through the dense forest – but they are shy are not often seen (frankly ok with not running into one of those magnificent cats).
Now this is not just a walk in the park – besides wearing proper gear one must adhere to strict rules to ensure safety. We were given mud boots as shown above which I had never used in previous hiking excursions but figured the guides knew what they were doing. After a quick tutorial we headed out or rather up a very steep path:
The “path,” most likely created by the stream of tourists that have come and gone quickly succumbed to the jungle and disappeared making forward progress more intricate. Add to this the fact that we were instructed to NEVER touch the trees or surrounding plants, as fire ants and other biting creatures were laying in wait, hoping for a human flesh feast. So we very slowly wended our way, thinking “ok, not so bad, I can do this:”
NB. I am in the red shirt and hat. Faces other than mine are obscured in this blog to protect the innocent.
The hike was fantastic – the beauty of the land cannot be described in words so here are some pics of some of the vistas we encountered:
After a couple of hours we were getting tired and hungry so started our journey back down. This is where it got real interesting since we couldn’t grab on to anything to help balance our descent. The ground was constantly in motion – as the dense humidity coupled with the rain forest precipitation produced copious amounts of thick, viscous mud. Our hike quickly became a series of butt and belly slides on and into the mud and by the time we got back to the compound, we were pretty much covered head to toe. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures – I think we were all so mud-soaked we couldn’t operate a camera – but we did look something like this:
We all wanted to get back to our rooms as quickly as possible to shower off and change for lunch. – but this took a rather unfortunate turn. Remember – we were one of the first groups to take an eco-tour in Costa Rica – the infrastructure was in its infancy so most things were pretty rustic. In other words, since we all tried to take a shower at the same time – rather than a cleansing spray of water we all more or less just got this:
I think our hosts eventually went to a nearby well and brought back buckets of water for us – so we got relatively clean – and since we were all in the same boat so to speak – a little dirt or ripeness was upon us all so no one minded – and the meal of local fare plus many glasses of tropical alcoholic drinks soon had us all singing “Men, Men, Men.”
Coming soon – Part 3 – a lovely cruise down the rivers and tributaries – and my daughter’s brush with drama!