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Published: June 23rd 2017
Geo: 11.5217, -85.6013
The storm last night presented Annemarie and I, and our new travel buddies, a bit of a set back. We now had to travel again to get to our small town destination of Santa Cruz on the island.
After a quick breakfast we were able to locate a bus that would take us. We arrived about an hour later where we were once again dropped on the side of the road. We asked directions and in blind faith hoped for the best. We had a nice walk of about 2km up a gentle hill. Along the way we were entertained by a small band of noisy howler monkeys. Arriving at a hostel, that doubles as an organic farm and a local coop for coffee growers, we had to decide our next step. Annemarie was really excited about hiking up a local volcano and into the crater where there is a lake to swim in. This one is a little older than some of the others we have seen and is covered in jungle. Always up for a walk in the jungle I quickly agreed and we hired a guide. Now this is where the idea of a little walk becomes
a different reality. This trip is scheduled to take 6-8 hours. It was around 10 am and we had to convince the guide we walk faster than others so they would let us go. The first 100 meters started just as I expected. That was it. From there, it went to small steps that graduated in size until every placement of my nice new clean hiking shoes was at least a foot hirer than the previous step. Interestingly enough, I was convinced this could not last the entire trip. I was right. The guide looked back, said "consado?" meaning tired. I panted back, no, are you? in Spanish. I'm not going to go into detail on why I am not mentioning Annemarie at this point, other than to say I don't think 5000 steps seems to have any impact whatsoever. Following this exchange, the guide gestures a motion to imply the rest of the way is very steep. Huh? How can this be. Well, we soon found out it was true. At times we were no longer hiking, but actually on all fours climbing. Periodically, I would get a look from the guide followed by, "consado?", and my out of
breath reply, " no!". Enjoying breathtaking views on the way, we scampered up the mountain in record time. As we arrived at the rim, then descended into the crater below, we arrived at an incredible volcano lake. I quickly removed my shoes and waded into the lake where my right leg was swallowed to my thigh in mud, to the enjoyment of those around. We enjoyed a power bar and beef jerky lunch and looked around a bit, while a local white face monkey played in the trees above us. As we stood there, a ominous fog engulfed the lake. The view disappeared and the rains began. Now this is where it got really interesting. From here to the bottom we slipped and slid our way down the mountain. Bouts of laughter erupted on more than a few occasions directed at each of us as we took turns slipping in the mud and falling on our butt. Even the guide was caught on video doing the frantic arm waive as he lost balance. A river of water rushed past us as we descended, only slowing as we approached the end. Off the volcano and feeling quite accomplished, we showered and
were treated to a beautiful sunset featuring a nearby volcano before retiring for the night. What a nice walk in the jungle.
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