The hike through the jungle started with in the heat of the early afternoon. Because we were in the rainforest, it was almost guaranteed that we would get a downpour at some point. About 20 minutes up the path Quebex and I took a minute to observe the view, but also to rest our breath at the picnic table. 10 minutes later as we scaled the large wood-plank-steps up the grassy dirt slope she told me she had a mongo in her bag. We sat near the barbed wire that guided the path and she pulled out a blade her father gave her. It was impressive. She began to carve. I was trying not to be greedy as I slowly sucked the juice off the pit, but I almost couldn’t resist. The taste of that fruit tingled so good that I was high with delight- exactly the refreshment I needed. By the time we had finish my hands were sticky and the sky had greyed. She pointed out the darkening south, and I lead the march North into the increasingly sloped and thickening rainforest.
The rain immediately began to fall. We occasionally helped each other up steeper parts, rested in the drenching and paused to take photos. I was like a little child, anxious to understand the smell, close up view and texture of everything I’d never seen before. I incidentally swiped my forearm across the barbed wire- fortunately Quebec is not only a barmaid, but a nurse(ish), so she knew how to use an alcohol wipe and comforting words. The scratch was short and deep. This happened again the next day at the bungee jump. F’ing barbed wire!
Along the hike we ran into 2 pairs of people heading down. Both gave us a sense of our distance to destination and words of caution. We heeded and headed forth. The vines hung with furry stems that danced in the winds as they were suspended midair. I swung on a vine for almost 2 seconds before it snapped and landed jungly dirt and leaves on my head. There were leaves of every green, every shape, every shade. Big, small, rough, smooth, shiny, and every other possible adjective that can be used to describe leaves, they were all surrounding us, as were massively thick trees and the never-ending-density of the jungle.
Finally at the top, about 2 hours from the start of the torrents (which had since ceased), we sat for a minute. Now, we are to hike down to the crater lake! Next to the bench was a path. Q lead the way. We joked about how “I can’t believe this is the path” “LOL” photo!, ~’no one will believe this is our “path”! hahaha.’ 15 minutes into the alleged 5 minute down-hike we questioned whether it was the path. We went on. my hand got bit by something, but didn’t know what. Then we had to climb through a tree if we were to continue. No one said it was THIS thick and deep into the jungle… take another photo. Roughly 25 minutes from the bench rest, we decided to turn back- this can’t possible be it. Mostly because there was literally no where left to go. It had been hours since we saw anyone, other than worker ants. The way back we took our time, looking for boot prints and other signs indicating where we came from. Eventually we returned to the bench at the top. OOOHHH the path is here, next to the blue painted arrow sign and the intentionally placed wood stakes! I see.
She didn’t want to go down fearing it’s steep danger. I went about 10 meters and fed her some bull shit. She followed. We were almost there! We were just about at the bottom where we would see the magnificently blue water, the Arenal Volcano’s apex, the fresh open rainforest view right on the water. We’ll swim, snack, it was about to all be so magical…. Ehhh. The sand was not the color it is in tropical paradise dreams, the haze was so thick we couldn’t see beyond a few meters of the grey lake. We were both drenched in sweat and rain that swimming simply wasn’t appealing. We were exhausted. We wanted to go back soaked in disappointment.
The return hike was an exhausted annoyance. My hand swelled real fat. Q complained more than the way up, but less than the average woman would have. It was getting dark, and it was probably in our best interest to be without jungle if we were gonna be without light. We hurried cautiously and finally got our haggard selves to the bottom, phoned a taxi and returned to the hostel.
We showered and went out for burgers. Quebex cleaned up real nice and the burgers from the New York Grill in Arenal Costa Rica were bangers. The owner and his family too are a trip.