Sunday, January 25, 2009

Monteverde, Costa Rica

There’s something deeply ironic about fleeing Seattle winter, only to settle on a cool, damp rainforest as your destination, Getting mad about it not being rainy and miserable enough, that’s some new level of weirdness.

But I must admit to some level of frustration in hiking through Costa Rica’s verdant forests. It’s quite lush. Very green. Perfectly wonderful. But it doesn’t really shout “forest primevel,” if you get my drift. I’m looking for the über rainforest, something primal and misty and altogether Jurassic.

On my way to Monteverde, I took one more shot at it, heading at first light down to the waterfall outside La Fortuna. The morning looked promising, in that it was pissing rain with a cloud deck hovering somewhere below the treetops. A vertiginous track leads three miles uphill to the park gate, where for eight bucks I was first in line to climb back down to the river valley floor.

I pity the souls who had to carve a trail out of the muddy and sopping wet cliffs, then carry down ton after ton of cinder blocks to shore up the path in the hopes of keeping klutzy gringos from plummeting hundreds of feet into the abyss. Lugging tripod and heavy camera bag, I only just managed to resist gravity’s siren song.

As I climbed down, cameras and I got wetter and wetter. And as the fog rolled in and the rain picked up another couple notches and mist billowed off the waterfall, it seemed things were finally looking up.

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