Monday, February 18, 2008
I just returned from Costa Rica where it was a little more than 100 degrees warmer than it is here in Minnesota. But the temperature wasn’t the best part of the trip. It was the ADVENTURE.
Here’s the scoop: My oldest son planned to vacation with friends in Central America, but they dropped out at the last minute. He had planned to climb a mountain, trek through the rainforests, and campout nightly. AND he planned to do it on $500.
As much as I hated leaving the frigid northwesterlies of my homeland, I couldn’t let my wee son (24 and 6’3”) brave the tropical climes alone. That would be wrong. So I shoved a backpack into my suitcase and boarded a plane.
We arrived in San Jose on Saturday and headed for the hills. On Monday morning we set out with our packs for the lodge on Mt. Chirippo. It was the hardest 7 miles of my life and took us ten hours. The lodge was really just a concrete garrison. Very cold, with solar lights which turned off at 8 pm and didn’t come on again until dusk the next day. At dawn we trekked the rest of the way to the summit. There was frost on the ground and the last kilometer or so was as steep as a staircase but once I was able to breathe again the view was spectacular. At 3800 meters above sea level you can see both the Pacific and the Atlantic.
We made it back down the mountain on the following day although it was totally dark long before we finished our hike. The Ticos get about twelve hours of light a day year around. It seemed very strange, but not problematic. Turns out that after 30 kilometers of trudging I can sleep for twelve hours straight.
Despite my uncertainties, I could still walk on the following morning. I just didn’t want to, but my wee son had made plans. We hiked for 5-14 hours every day.
The jungle is amazing! So dark, so loud, so fantastic. Even in the dry season, thousands of foil-bright petals are strewn across the trails. Plants grow on plants that are growing on plants. The flowers look like exotic birds set in strange positions. We saw slothes, river otters, freaky frogs, a million funky lizards, and three types of monkeys, some of which tended to howl at us as we passed through their world. And the beaches…they stretch on forever and where we were…often 10 miles from the nearest road, there was not another living soul in sight.
The rural areas of the country are a world apart. A world where people live with their chickens under their houses. Where they ride horses to school, where public transportation consists of a jeep with two wooden benches meant for 8 passengers. But which will hold 14--believe me.
I came back leaner and happier and better educated than I’ve been in years. I also came back with a yearning to see more of the world. Not the Hiltons and the Holiday Inns, but the real world, the simpler world. I want to see it and explore it and feel it.
It’s taken me nearly half a decade to discover what a big, gorgeous world it is out there.
So what parts of our amazing planet have inspired you? I’m looking for my next adventure.
Posted by lois greiman at 9:25 PM