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Published: April 23rd 2006
well... a bit sooner and a lot sorer than expected, I'm back in San Jose just for the day, and head off to Nicaragua mañana (as long as I can buy a ticket). I'm just returning from eating a great filling lunch at a vegitarian fast food chain of sorts, where a veggie soup, brown rice, veggie curry, salad, fruit drink, and ice cream, costed less then 4 bucks! Julie and Joel, you'd love it!
So now, onto my recent adventure... Chirippó. Beautiful but not too kind on the body.
I went up friday morning, leaving at 8 from the park headquarters. Had to walk 2 km before even reaching the trail, with a large backpack mind you, and was already a bit tired. And once on the trail I knew I was going to be in for quite a doozy, because it was 2 km all uphill without much of a break. I guess I didn't take into account how much harder the backpack would make the accent. The hike to the lodge was 14 km, plus the two through town, so 16 the first day. I'm telling you after the first 6, I was about ready to head down. I wonder if I'm getting the point across, it was pretty damn difficult! Mostly I wasn't in good enough shape.
To make a very long story short, I arrived just before dark, 5:30, about 9.5 hours later. Some people at the lodge took 6.
The hike, however, was just fabulous. Starting in a somewhat sparse forest, I climbed through different levels of humid cloud forest to the soundtrack of a bird symphony. I swear Jazz musicians learned from some of these birds. They warbled with a consistant rhythm, and then would go off on these tangents. There was another amazing bird whose voice was reminicent of a swing in a playground, an errie metalic high pitched creaking. It helped keep me entertained as I suffered physically.
I also stopped every 3 minutes to take a photo. Oddly enough I was surrounded by clouds... in a cloud forest.. huh, go figure. But it provided some nice shots of trees in the mist. I'm not sure whether they came out, but the experience was special. The endless amount of ferns,small plants, flowers, mushrooms, twisting trees, vines, and more kept me in awe for much of the rest of the hike.
Then as I reached kilometer numero 10, I found myself in the open shrub covered paramo, which was also a graveyard of trees, that were burned some 10 years ago in a huge forest fire. But since then a scene very remincent of california coastal or mountain scrub has taken over. So I went from greens of every sort to colors of olive, brown, and orange.
Finally I arrived, ate, and fell asleep before 8.
The next morning I woke up at 3, and with a young spanish doctor, with the greatest name out there, Miquel,(the catelán version of Michael), together we finished off the rest, taking just about 2 hours to climb 5 km, all in all reaching the highest peak in Costa Rica of 3820, roughly 13,000 ft arriving just after sunrise. We got there just in time to see the crimson reds as they reflected off of the clouds, behind the black sillhoutes of peaks in the distance. ten minutes later the views disapeared under a freezing cloud of mist.
From there on out it was mostly downhill... easy right?? Not so, after returning and eating at the lodge, the two of us went down, taking us 5 hours of walking with a handfull of breaks. By the end everything hurt, we were dragging our feet, begging to god or a bird or whatever to come pick us up... unfortunately it never happened, but hey.. now at least I can say that in two days, I hiked 42 km (26 in 1 day) and climbed and descended the equivilent of 2.5 vertical km. A feat I'm happy to have done but probably won't ever do again... at least not until I forget about the pain.
okay... until next time, cuidense!
ps... I'm going to make a map of all of my travels thus far in Costa Rica, if I figure out how.
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