For the last two days, we have been in La Fortuna. Northwest of San Jose, La Fortuna is home to the Arenal volcano and incredible jungle hikes.
I know the olympics havent started officially, but the costa rican edition of the summer olympics has. In the death hike to the lagoon category, the results are:
Gold – Germany
Silver = Costa Rica
Bronze = Unknown Latin Country
This is how it played out. Today, Evi and I hiked Cerro Chato, which is a huge long hike to a secluded beautiful lagoon right next to the Arenal Volcano. We heard about the hike from two of our roommates, the Germans. They did the hike yesterday. Yesterday, Evi and I hiked to the La Fortuna waterfall. Both the waterfall and the lagoon hike take off from the same location. When we told the Germans about how amazing the waterfall was, they kind of laughed because once we hiked the 3 miles from the hostel, the actual hike down to the waterfall is only about 25 min. Then they told us about the far superior hike to the lagoon that boasted a more respectable 4 hours from the entrance.
Given my natural competitive instincts and desire to keep wearing my Tevas, I knew we had to complete the hike too. I totally misjudged the Germans and assumed Evi and I could handle the hike without a struggle.
Evi and I took off for the hike at 8:00 am this morning. Holy shit…we had no idea what we were getting into. The first hour is a straight up incline up a mud slide path. Then after crossing a giant fallen tree, the terrain turned into jungle. We estimated it was a 30% grade, and we heard others later say it was 35% grade. That’s really steep in case you didn’t know (Be impressed!!). So far, the hike to the lagoon was the most difficult hike Ive completed. Explaining how sweaty I was wont do it justice because I haven’t stopped sweating since I got to CR. It was extremely tough for Evi and me….and I like to think were in decent shape.
We stayed at the lagoon for a few hours enjoying the beautiful view and refreshing water. We read books, ate a picnic lunch, and lounged. We finally got up the nerve and stamina to hike back.
As we started the hike back, I was pretty damn proud of myself. Yeah, Im cocky. Whatever. Then this man comes jumping down the hike like he weighs as much as much as feather with the grace of a world class ballerina. This is over unstable branches, slippery mud, and very uneven terrain. In comparison, I was trudging down the mountain taking steps as loud as a horse. I didn’t worry too much because he looked incredibly fit. I don’t think that was his first rodeo in the hike department.
But then I see a Costa Rican family hiking up the jungle as we hiked down. It was a mom and two kids. A 6 year child was handling this hike with better grace than me. A 6 year old wearing oversized rainboots. SERIOUSLY!!! ?? He was a child in giant plastic rainboots showing up 21year old in Tevas (the most perfect jungle hike shoe)!!
We eventually made it down and immediately got in the pool. That is where I tallied the points for the medals. Here is the break down with explanation.
Gold : GERMANY
Normally I would say there is nothing more humbling than nature, but there is nothing more humbling than Germans. They get the gold on the hike for the following reasons = they completed the hike first and discovered how to bypass the giant fallen tree on the trail without any help. They also get bonus points for holding the EU together and hosting Oktoberfest.
Silver: Costa Rica
For training for jungle hikes Chinese gymnast style(start em young).
Bronze: Unknown Latin Country
You go jump down some more jungle mountains you show off.
Honorable Mention: US
Because we made it. And looked damn good.