Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica

As much as I love exploring cities and beaches, being in the mountains and forest surpass the joy of laying out on the beach. Maybe that is because I grew up in the forests of Oregon, or maybe because there are less people in the forests so you get some good pondering time in. I'm not really sure what it is, but I knew that we had to explore some kind of forest while in Costa Rica, so we headed up to Rincon de la Vieja, which means Old Corner - which is a national park near the beach we were staying at. 

There were a lot of cool things to see. After all, we were in a rain forest in Costa Rica, and those are known as some of the most beautiful rain forests in all of Central America (maybe even the world).

The jungle had some spectacular things to see. HUGE trees, incredible vines, monkeys and other really strange forest creatures. Ants, butterflies, and a ton of other bugs. It was seriously lush with little creatures.

Our trail went through a couple of different phases as well, which was really weird. We started out in a lush forest filled with oversized trees and plants, and then it opened up to a desert like terrain that was filled with dusty paths and dead shrubbery. Then, the hike ended back in a dense tropical region. It wasn't a super far hike, but the change in terrain made it seem like we were crossing continents. 

Here we are on the African hillside in the middle of our hike. Seriously, so different than the forest.

Our whole hike was focused on getting to a secluded waterfall and watering hole, so no matter how strange the terrain, or how hot and sticky sweaty we were, we knew it would be worth it in the end.

And the waterfall did not disappoint. It was gorgeous there! The water was a bit cold, although bearable. But compared to the ocean, it was frigid. We may be pretty big wimps too.

We all decided to swim over to the waterfall and play in the cascading water and jump into the pool. But we didn't get any pictures of that since our camera is not water proof. :)

Both Dave and Bryce brought their GoPros and took turns diving in the water to see what they could see at the bottom of the pool. I think the most exciting find was a hair tie. 

We spent quite a bit of time at the pool and enjoyed our lunch on the rocks surrounding it - but then people started coming around so we decided to make our way back to the park entrance. 

On the way back, Rick got real creative with the vines. He not only swung by them and climbed up trees, but he also used them as booby traps, so everywhere we went he strung up vines between trees so we would get snagged in them. 

Then we found some really cool trees that we needed to climb and take pictures with. They were seriously huge! And a lot of them had parasite trees on them that had eaten away at the trees, so they were hollow. Very interesting.
At the end of our hike we tried to convince the park ranger to let us stay longer since we only had a few hours in the park, but he said we didn't have enough time to explore the other parts. There were mud pools and other weird natural things. Oh well, next time we are there, we will know where to go. 

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