So, pictures of Costa are finally here.  For the full stories, you’re just going to have to ask, because there are WAY too many good stories to list this blog (it would be, as some have accused my postings already, a novel for sure). 

The long and short of it: don’t go to Costa Rica during rainy season, they really aren’t kidding, it rains a lot.  But, without hardship how can you enjoy the pleasures of life?  Plus a little rain never hurt anyone.  So, with downpours every afternoon (and sometimes midmorning) on the order of inches, we endured:

(1) a 48 hour, 40 kilometer hike up and down Mt. Chirrupo (the highest peak in Costa Rica).  14.5 km and nearly 5,000 ft in elevation change (from ~5,200 to ~9,800) the first day. 3am wake up to try and make sunrise at the peak: 5.2km and another ~3,000 up and down from the base lodge to the summit (12,500 feet), then another grueling, 14.5 km back down in the rain and mud (for a total of 24.9km and ~7,000 feet of downward knee pressure day two).

We didn’t quite make sunrise at the peak (we were about 40 minutes out) but we were happy to reach the top nonetheless.  We did, however, have the most spectacular astrological show at 3am when we set out.  Unlike the urban jungle we normally occupy, the top of a mountain is staggeringly un-light polluted and allows the sky’s stars to shine with brillance.  I’ve never seen so many twinkling clouds of gas…

Of course, what goes up must come down.  And down we went.  And down the rain poured during our descent.  Languishing in the covered part of the trail, Kristin and I took the opportunity to gaze at the plantlife along the trail that we were too exhausted to notice as we sweated our way up the incline. 

Only 6 hours trekking downwards in the rain, and our hiking adventure was over…

 (2) a boat ride to our beachside accommodations that consisted of heart pounding waves during our ferry down the river and into the open ocean to reach Drake Bay, a kid throwing up on Steve, and the captain  pulling the boat up 25 feet from the shore and sand and  telling us it was as close as he could get us and to get out or put out (being kindly enough to hand us our luggage after we jumped ship and as we almost toppled over in the waves and dredged ourselves ashore…).  Grumbling ourselves to bed, we had only to wait and wake the next morning to see our hard-fought surrounds in Drake Bay, a paradise beyond imagination.

(3) a taxi ride  and river fjording from Drake Bay to the airport, to head to the Cloud Forest of Monteverde  (really, more than one person telling me to get out of a semi-dry mode of transportation, get the in the water and carry my luggage over my head is more than enough). But the river was high, and our 2-prop, 6 passenger flight was scheduled to leave in 15 minutes.  So fjord the river we did, luggage perched atop heads once again.  We picked up another taxi on the other side of the river, and made the plane in plenty of time.  Which is not saying much, since we were 4 of 8 passengers and the “airport” consisted of a shack with a guy and a scale outside a cow field with an airplane on it.

(4) a wet but amazing stay among the clouds, including ziplining through and over the canopy, horseback riding on the mountain ridge with views of the ocean from both sides, and an adult rental house that was the literal epitome of a childhood fantasy (the tree house).

(5) then finally, for a bit of heat, to Mt. Arenal (a dormant volcano) and a dip in some seriously natural hot springs and, you guessed it, more hiking!