We headed North out of town to go around the back side of Arenal. Finally some dirt roads. We entered the park to hike, but the volcano was covered with clouds and was very hard to make out, so we opted to save our $20 (park fee) and keep going.
Coming up to a fork in the road was 3 guys on 2 dr400's. they had just come from around the lake and said it was beautiful, although looking a little doubtful that we would make it, but then reassured us that we would be OK. It was then at this point that we realized we were taking the route Thorston had said was only accessible with 4 wheel drive. But we'd come so far.
Our first water crossing
Not one of the more graceful techniques, but it works. The bottom was full of slimey grapefruit and bowling ball size rocks. Made it through without a hitch.
The 2nd crossing was not much more graceful, but I didn't expect it to be as this one was moving alot faster and was much wider.
Had to ride to the outside because it was more shallow, even though it meant riding through more water and then into mud on the bank.
Next water crossing, better style points
Remember when I talked about the gas station at the beginning of town, this is where that comes into play. We looked on our way out but did not see one. The next thing you know - your surrounded by jungle, water, volcano, reptiles, birds, and filled with the pure excitement of being in the wild, gas took the back seat in this planning. Words to remember, fill up when ever possible.
The bike started to die out and then stall. Checking the maps and knowing how far we've already come means there's no going back.
Not sure at just how far we've circled Laguna de Arenal we think that we're closer to Tilaran (a town on our map), and we're off.
One of the many OSHA approved bridges. You can see that the tree supporting the planks to make the bridge is not willing to die just yet.
Coming off of the bridge with the excitement of tour bus full of Japanese tourists at the Hoover Dam we spot this little market and the family that runs it are willing to sell us some fuel. We filled up one gallon of fuel in a milk jug and poured into the fuel tank of the bike, that will be enough. The young gentleman looks at me and simply says, no. He knows this area and not wanting to make that mistake again, we take his advice and add one more gallon at $5 a gallon, but we're happy to pay it. We ask for advice on which way to go. The mother of the guy who got us fuel took a big interest in the map at this point and started looking it over and in spanish (I need to learn more) advised us to go toward Monte Verde. "Es Muy Bonita". That means that's where we are going.
The road immediately starts to climb, the jungle atmosphere disappears and the mountains turn green.
A bus stop at a fork in the road
A short time later we reached at small resturant (Soda) and decide to get something to drink. They ask if we're interested in going to the waterfalls. 4 big ones. What the hell, you can't discover Costa Rica without really exploring it. The man behind the counter exchanges our money for a map and offers to watch our gear. We'll be alright I told him (that was stupid). We park the bike at the trailhead and change out of our riding clothes into swimsuits and sandles, put the 35 lb duffle bag on my back and head out on the trail, which immediately goes almost vertical down.
Viento Fresco Waterfall's: Approching the first waterfall
After a short dip, we're off to the next.
Riding jacket and bathing suit
The 3rd waterfall
On our way to the 4th and last waterfall the trail is not as well built and we finally decide that we should still do it anyhow. And got a big surprise on our way down.
They seemed to be just as curious to us as we were to them, but they didn't have a camera, yet. They started moving in on us, I can see that they're interested in the camera, possibly for themselves to take pictures of people, who knows, they started getting too close for our comfort, we moved on.
4th waterfall from a distance
The hike back out was tough in this heat and humidity, at one point I had to stop in the shaded area. I'm not sure how hot it was, but I know it wasn't cold. I could see my breath as if it where 10 degrees outside. Calves where burning, lungs hurt and gained another useless set of stinky clothes, but well worth it.
Onward to MonteVerde!