We were in town one afternoon getting necessities and we met a store owner who has a son working at CATIE as an intern in the Director's office. Ironically, he speaks English perfectly and has lived in the States for most of his life. So we made an effort to stop by the office and introduce ourselves (something I would normally never do if you know me well haha). We got his Facebook information and got in touch over the weekend. He took us out in Turrialba for our first night on the town and helped us find our way, and Saturday we went with him to the gorgeous Aquiares waterfall in the mountains just outside of Turrialba.
It would have been really hard to do without Sergio. The trails weren't the most visible and certainly not paved. So, somehow we were lucky enough to meet him and experience Costa Rica with someone who knows all about it.
I really wish I could put to words how incredible this trip was.. It's kind of one of those situations where you had to be there. I mean we started out just driving out of Turrialba and into the mountains. Then we had to go off-roading a while to get close enough and park the car. Keep in mind these roads barely fit one car through them and are entirely gravel and dirt. Leaves were slapping us in the face since we had our windows open. There were coffee fields, massive trees and beautiful creeks all along the Jurassic Park-ish trail. We even joked a few times that we needed the glass of water on the dash to tell if dinosaurs were coming.
Once we got close enough, we parked the car in a small cove off of the trail and continued to hike the rest of the way to the waterfall. Now the one thing I haven't gotten yet down here is some good hiking/water shoes. So I was wearing an old pair of sandals with no grip on them whatsoever. They had backs on them, but were certainly not meant for extreme physical activity. After hiking through the mud and rocks for a while my feet were sliding out of my sandals and barely hanging on. Just when Gabe mentioned something about my shoe amazingly not breaking yet.. snap.. and there it went. The best part of it though (and you really did have to be there for this) was that right where my shoe broke there was a pair of broken sandals that someone else had left. It was like a graveyard for sandals. I swear, we stood there laughing for a solid 5 minutes before I just continued barefoot. Again, you kind of had to be there.
It felt kind of nice, honestly, to just forget about everything and walk and climb barefoot through the jungle. Yes, there was a part of me that was afraid of being bitten by something, but once you get past that fear everything just seems that much more amazing. And besides, the waterfall was ABSOLUTELY worth it. We hiked to the bottom first for some pictures then climbed to the top to look down on it. Here are a few pictures..
The experience was absolutely incredible though. It's one of those things you would never expect to get to do and then when you're there, you can't believe it. Several times while we were out there I just looked up, spread my arms out wide and took a deep breath, soaking it all in. No worries, no cares.. One of those kind of moments.
Anyway, I'll stop attempting to explain something so difficult to put to words.. We started class this week, so expect more delays. School comes first :) Thanks for sticking with me!