So after saying “Adios” to Orosi a little over a week ago, 5 of us volunteers went into the woods. I guess you could say we went because we wished to live deliberately (for a whole 2 days) and also to summit the highest mountain in Central America. We succeeded in the submitting Mt. Chirripo (though I’m not quite sure about the living deliberately part).
I’ve done plenty of hiking on the East Coast White Mountains and thought I was in decent shape, but Mt. Chirripo is certainly a whole new challenge. It was definitely the highest and hardest and longest hike I’ve ever done by far. There were times I wanted to stop, or at least throw my giant pack off the side of the mountains, but I didn’t. All 5 of us did a great job at being encouraging, rationing food (if you climb this, bring more food than we did!) and kind of kicking ass.
We hiked up all day on Tuesday, we started at Eric’s house in San Gerardo de Rivas at 5:30AM and got to the hostel before the summit around 2pm. We explored around the hostel, slept a few hours and woke up before 3AM to start our climb to the summit. Apparently, it’s mandatory to be up there for the sunrise before 6AM. Hiking in Costa Rica in the pitch black is certainly an experience! I don’t know if I was more concerned about tripping and spraining an ankle, or about the pumas and jaguars and other nocturnal creatures that would certainly come out and eat me if I did indeed trip and sprain and ankle. But the sunrise thing? Totally worth it!
It took us most of the day to get back down to San Gerardo (we started hiking at 3AM and finished at around 3pm). I personally could enjoy the scenery a bit more on the way down, and it is just one of the most beautiful, serene places I have ever encountered. For miles and miles all you can see are mountains and forests and clouds and cloud forests. Incredible!
After some great food and good night’s sleep at Eric’s house in San Gerardo, we all headed to Playa Dominical for some R&R. I realized that this was my first time in the Pacific Ocean! It’s not that different from any other ocean! Maybe warmer, and the waves on Dominical are INTENSE. This is the place if you want some professional, hardcore surfing. Luckily, it’s also a great place to chill and do a lot of nothing , which is all we had the energy for after Chirripo.
Aside from the beach, our favorite place here was definitely the bar and restaurant at Tortilla Flats. Great people, food, drinks AND it’s named after a Steinbeck novel (not one of his best, but still witty). If you visit Dominical come here! We stayed at a hostel close by, but for only $30/night for a double you get a room at Tortilla’s with private hot showers and hammock. My body was obviously craving vegetables and minerals (and ice cream obviously) after the intense hike, so all I could really recommend off the menu is the cold veggie sandwich and fruit bowl, mimmio bars and beer, but everything looked really really good.
On the way “home” we did the American thing and spent a night in San Jose to watch the Superbowl at a sports bar with some lovely ladies:
I feel a little sad that I have to sum up the past week and half so quickly, because it truly was amazing. I guess I should be happy to be doing more living than blogging at the moment. After many days of hostels and buses and traveling all over the world with all of our belongings we are finally “home” in La Fortuna. It feels so good to unpack all of our stuff in our new room; it’s big and sunny and we have our own bathroom and TV, and volcano in our yard of course 🙂 We also live right across the street from the school, which is insanely convienient.
Currently Ross and I are sitting in the bar area of the Fortuna Hotel using their wi-fi, drinking cafe and watching the sunset behind the Arenal Volcano. Although I have been really homesick lately (for some reason the beach made me miss home!) I have a feeling this is going to be a really good year
We had our first meeting with the other teachers at our school today and the school director Juan Carlos, and two reps from the Costa Rican Ministry of Education and Cara our WorldTeach field director. It was intimidating, and I had no idea what anyone was saying (funny how after two weeks of slacking my Spanish has totally escaped me) but it really did go okay. We have more meetings at 7AM tomorrow, and then Thursday is the first day of school! Here goes nothing…