My lists from my notebook requested that they make an appearance here. Who am I to tell them no? They are simple lists, sometimes just one word, but these lists were to help remind me of my days, and I have had fun looking back, my memory being jogged by such simple little statements. I find that as I look back at them, they bring back even more memories, and I am able, all this time later, to still add to the list.
Day 5 was one of my most favorite days from the vacation, even though I considered naming this post “Costa Rica, Day 5…the day Louis tried to kill me” But we’ll get to that
This post is not one where I can be frugal with my words. I just loved this day too much. And it was too entertaining. Plus, I suck at telling short stories, remember?!
We woke up early to fill our bellies with strange food to prepare for a busy day. When we signed up for this excursion the night before, the man at the desk looked us up and down, stared at as sternly, and finally said “Do you hike?” “Yes” “Are you healthy?” “Yes” “Ok, we don’t recommend this for everyone. It is very hard.” And he looked….concerned. Which left me feeling slightly concerned. But I was intent on at least getting in one full-day excursion while we were at the resort, and the pamphlet showed gorgeous turquoise water. I am a sucker for packaging
So we we filled our bellies under the gaze of a giant, lazy iguana. We watched as the staff put out fruit to lure in the most incredible looking birds I have ever seen. I snacked on a ridiculous amount of fruit, and super tasty sausage that hubby has me convinced might just have been horse meat :p We stopped at the desk to let them know we would be ready very soon. Once again, we got the once over. There was some serious internal debate going on inside this man’s head. Finally, he simply asked if we were physically fit, and to put good shoes on. Geez people! Now I’m starting to worry!
We get ready. We wait at the desk. An inconspicuous van pulls up, and an even more inconspicuous man hops out. Meet Louis. The man that looks harmless, but that I would later determine was on a mission to kill this girl. But we’ll get to that.
We start our excursion with a long drive. I should warn you, long drives, especially in Costa Rica, where the rule of the road is simply “we’re in Costa Rica, we do what we want!”, can be iffy for my queasy belly. And as it turns out, hubby’s belly too! I cannot even begin to explain the driving situation down there, so I am not even going to try. Just know it is interesting, and fast, and entertaining, and really, there don’t seem to be any rules. So we drive. I inform Louis (the man that wants to kill me) that I have yet to see a sloth, that all I want is to see a sloth. And he gets a sparkle in his eyes. One thing about these guides…you want to see something? You WILL see it. They are amazing. Obviously, they know if they give you what you want, you will reward them. Hell yeah I’ll reward you! Even though he tried to kill me, Louis was rewarded. On our drive he spotted numerous birds for us, including falcons and hawks. Now…when I say he “pointed out” what I mean to say is he brought to the van to a screeching halt, with no regard to traffic, and would not move until he was sure that we were seeing what he was seeing.
As our drive continued on, we came upon a stoppage on an old dirt road, with a tourist van parked in the middle of the road, and numerous people standing, neck craned, all pointing in the same direction. “Get out” Louis said. “Get out, when you see people looking like that, there is a sloth.” We got out. AND THERE WAS A SLOTH!!! Right there, at the side of the road. Half way up a tree and camouflaged behind a leaf.
Would you like to see the picture?
Me too. But I didn’t take one. I know, I know!!! But I have a pretty crappy kit zoom lens, and seriously, he was snug up behind the leaf. For that moment, I was perfectly content with tucking it tightly into my memory banks, knowing that my first sloth sighting, even if not captured on “film”, would always be remembered perfectly.
Annnnnnnnnd, back in the van! Oh, the journey to our destination. It was entertaining all on it’s own. We have traffic jams that consisted of us and a herd of cows. Being chased by dogs. Dodging, amazing well I might add, almost every pot hole known to man. And finally, heading up a “hill” that caused me to subconsciously start rocking back and forth, in hopes it might propel the van forward and prevent us from sliding back.
And we arrive! We sign in, walk down a very boring little trail and enter the mouth of the forest.
And I lose my breath. It is gorgeous. Throughout our trip we were very fortunate to have seen many different types of rainforests, and this one was by far my most favorite. The cool temperature didn’t hurt either It was dark, and HUGE. Trees towered overhead and I couldn’t help but to think of the movie Jurassic Park. I found myself stopping numerous times, looking up, and just spinning in a slow circle, trying to take it all in. It was just breathtaking. And did I mention dark? It was dark. At the beginning of our hike I didn’t even bother taking my camera out, knowing it was pointless.
The further we hiked, the more precarious some trails became. Some would say I am a wuss…and I would probably agree I have an incredible fear of heights…and we were definitely getting higher. You will see in some of the pictures a peculiar look on my face…that is me totally and completely freaked out I mean, really…no one told me there would be WIRES that were all that was standing between me and sudden death!
(yes, I am WELL aware of that photo there, standing all sideways and whatnot. let’s not talk about it, k? k.)
Ok. So the hike. It is lovely. Really, it is. Sure, there are some scary spots. But it is ok. Hubby comforts me. I ask if he thinks we will have to come back this way, and he reassures me that he thinks it is a loop, so no, we probably won’t have to come back this way. Well sweet jesus THANK YOU!!!! Louis (the man that wants to kill me) then informs us that, no, he knows a quicker way.
*When your guide tells you there is a “quicker way”, be leery.
**When he leads you past a sign that reads PROHIBIDO, be leery. I mean, do I speak Spanish? Technically, no. But I don’t need a translator for this one people. No. I. Do. Not.
But “don’t worry!” Louis (the man that wants to kill me) reassures…”they mean old people. Lots of old people fall here. This is ok for young boys.” Does Louis know I am not a young boy? DOES HE??????????? Sure, my hair is really short. But my voice? It’s as valley girl as it gets. I have a bracelet on. And mascara even! Louis, I AM NOT A YOUNG BOY.
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd adventure begins. This is terrible. I have tears in my eyes. Are we really on a trail? No really, are we?
There were times we would come to a spot, and lovely Louis (the man that wants to kill me) would say simply “uh-oh”. And I would see what he was looking at. And I would say, obviously, “do we need to turn back?” *fingers crossed* And Louis (the man that wants to kill me) would say “Nope!” all chipper and happy as he proceeds to lead me closer to my death.
This, my sweet friends, is what Louis (the man that wants to kill me) drove me to…lol, really, I was SO over it at this point. This trek attacked my fear of heights on so many levels, and took my anxiety and shook it all up and then spit it all over the forest floor. And that resulted in this
Did I mention how many times I fell on this hike? Which just reiterated the fact that at any moment, I could plunge to my death off the side of these trails. Oh, because trails that are past the Prohibido sign? They don’t have wires along the paths. BECUASE NO ONE IS SUPPOSED TO BE THERE! Oh Louis….
But really…this was one of my most favorite days of the whole trip. It was so trying for me, but the beauty of it all was just so overwhelming, I couldn’t help but flip a camera off, and then be instantly mesmerized by a gorgeous butterfly. And suuuuure, I am convinced that Louis was trying to kill me, but he was also highly entertaining. When we crossed paths with other hikers (not on the Prohibido path, I can assure you that) he would warn them of jaguars…which just sounds adorable with a Spanish accent- haguar. He spent much of our hike mimicking howler monkeys…which resulted in endless entertainment as we watched fellow hikers suddenly staring into the trees, trying to spot them
This hike will forever be burned in my memory. It was the hardest hike we did on the trip, but also the most beautiful. And almost dying at the hands of your guide doesn’t hurt for the excitement factor either The colors of the water, the enormity of the forest, the delicate wings of the butterflies, everything about it was dream-like.
We ended the hike sweaty and muddy. We filled our bellies with a traditional Costa Rican lunch with Louis and took a long, tired ride back home. Where, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait for it……………………………..we saw another sloth!!!!!
So yeah…crappy kit lens, remember? So you just have to trust me that that right there, is a sloth. Really. It is. And I will also point out that this was spotted while going proabably about 70-80 mph. SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH. look! look! look! Oh Louis, I know you tried to kill me and all, but thank you.
We came to a screeching halt one more time, for a group of howler monkeys….
I wish you could hear what they sound like…it is so amazing how little they actually are after hearing the LOUD, prehistoric noises they make.
So that was day 5. Top of the list day 5. It was so great and there are so many little bits and pieces I wish I could share with you, but they are the types of memories that are somehow impossible to share with others, but are engraved deep into the walls of my memory. I loved day 5.
Oh wait! Do you want real photos too??? Well, ok…
As I neared this tree, I was trying to figure out what I was seeing…..and it turns out, it was a shoe.
This Skink was one of my best models from the entire trip! He was incredibly patient, and while he didn’t sit still, he never went too terribly far. I spent some time crawling in the mud, and was able to get some pretty great shots of him…
This little guy was so itty bitty and was on the other end of the spectrum from the skink in the whole camera love thing. He only let me get about 4 shots in before he was long gone…
Probably my favorite shot from the day…