Day one of our main trek! We had an early start to say the least, half past four for the breakfast team, to set off walking at half past six. This was pretty stressful and if I said it went swimmingly I would be lying. But half an hour late wasn’t too bad for our first day.
Before bed we had an insightful team review giving everyone chance to tell the rest of the team how they were feeling about the days ahead and how today had gone. This showed where some of the group needed help and others could provide it. When going to bed it was almost impossible to forget where you were with the racket of the incredible wildlife. Not a place for light sleepers. Overall it has been an amazing day, some of the team are now feeling more confident whilst others a little more apprehensive for the next few days, let’s hope it puts us in good stead for the rest of the trek!
Wish us luck! :-)
P.s Miss everyone loads, wish you were here you would love it! :-) love you lots xxx
Friday 3rd August
We brought down our lighter packs to the communal area, and were ready to get going at 10:20. First we had to ascend several slopes through the jungle thicket, passing many golden orb web spiders on the way. Now, I may suffer slightly from arachnophobia, but even I can’t call these creatures ugly. Their long slender legs radiate out from the middle of a perfect golden silk web, and you can even see the eyes of these magnificent creatures if you dare to look closely.
Finally slipping to the top of the final muddy bank, we were met with a great view. Looking over the mountains covered in a thousand shades of green, we could make out the Gulfo Dulce from whence we came the previous day. Whilst taking a break here, eating trail mix, I spotted some leaves shaking in a nearby tree. After watching for a few moments, I gave the shout we all wanted; “monkeys!”. A squirrel monkey had appeared from behind some of the leaves, and this meant as a team we had now seen all four of Costa Rica’s primates. They were as pesky as pixies though; as soon as you had trained your camera onto them, they were off. Just as we were about to set off again, there was another close encounter. A cone headed katydid (identified later on) had jumped onto Jenny’s camera, so of course Cliff just had to pick it up. It stayed pretty still, and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this, so I volunteered to hold it. But as soon as it was on my hand, it scurried up my arm and onto my backpack, and finally my hat.
By Jack Beckwith
Saturday 4th August
I would like to finish by wishing my eldest nephew a happy birthday tomorrow when he will be seven.
Sunday 5th August
Today started out the same as most of the days we’ve spent here- getting up very early. Everyone was up by 4:30am but there were no complaints because we are all used to it by now! Breakfast was porridge, as usual but it gave us the energy we needed for the day ahead of us. (Ed. Yum)
Most of us were still aching from yesterday and worried for today, but the positives of it being the last day of trek, having less steep inclines and a beach waiting for us at the finish definitely outweighed the negatives, so we set off with high spirits. The trek started with 3km walking alongside (but mostly in) a small stony river. It was very easy going and we felt very lucky having so much flat land to walk on. About an hour in the rain started (Ed. for a change ;-)), but it wasn’t drizzle, it was torrential - the type where it drips off your nose and into your mouth but in the end you give up spitting it out because there’s just too much of it! After an hour and a half of walking we reached the end of what the guides had called the “river bit”. We had a well earned rest in the pouring rain eating soggy crisps, nuts and trail mix. But they were still just as tasty! After the break we headed onwards and upwards to the 1 ½ km “steep bit”. It was really difficult, especially with heavy packs filled with wet clothes, and yet we managed to do it within about an hour. We all breathed a sigh of relief once the hard bit was over. But little did we know the downhill bit we had been promised turned out to be perilously steep and we actually had to take out the long ropes for people to hold on to. Some were a little more steady on their feet than others and we had quite a few slips (Taggart). The downhill part seemed to go on forever even though we had been told it was only 1 ½ km. Our feet were beginning to ache a lot and it was becoming very challenging for some people, getting a few tears and angry faces. But it was pretty scary at some points, with the mud made more slippy by our wet boots and the pressure from the weight of our packs- abseiling down a steep drop of mud with only the rope to rely on for support took it to the extreme! But we managed to all get through it, and with aching thighs and feet we ate our lunch at the base of a little waterfall.
They left for the bus and we noticed a huge raincloud looming over us and so the tents were erected even quicker than usual! Emily, Jenny, Alice and Beth went up to the shop to buy things for tea and returned with packets of crisps, oreos and cookies. Meanwhile, some of the lads set about finding large pieces of driftwood to try to create a barrier to protect the tents from the sea in case the tide came in any further during the night.
We ate our tea of Beanfeast with nacho crisps, some people (ahem, Emily) had six helpings! I don’t know how she fit it all in! After tea we had a review of the day and really of the whole trek. Everybody said how hard they had found it both physically and emotionally, but we all agreed that it was definitely worth it in the end and if asked we would do it again (well some of us anyway). After the meeting most of us retired to bed for some well earned sleep inside our luxury ocean-view tents, while others actually got the chance to see more turtles (Ed. for me the feeling of being on the beach standing right next to a turtle laying its eggs is a high point and one I’ll remember for a really long time...of what has been an amazing journey) it was the cream on top on this beach. (Some even pretended to be turtles alongside them!) All in all the trek was worth it and hopefully we will be nice and toned when we get back, but we really can’t wait to chuck our tents and get our beds back!!
By the way, I just want to wish my mum a belated happy birthday- I was thinking about you (and made everyone else as well!) Lots of love x