Picking back up from the previous post, Adventure Update (Part I), here’s part two!
We left Brasilito, Guanacaste on Monday to get our week going again.
The next three days were pretty subdued. Just resting and using aloe vera, preparing for Nicaragua next week, getting to Mass on Thursday for Adoration and God’s grace in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and trying to spend some time reflecting on Lent. I finished the beautiful journal given to me last year and bought a new one in Spanish.
This past Friday, with a completely different group, I left for Quepos and Manuel Antonio to do some waterfall rappelling. The bus ride to San Jose went much quicker as it wasn’t la hora de la presa (rush hour), and once we got to the next bus, it was only 3.5-4 hours instead of six. I love the bus rides because we get to go through the whole country and see the landscape and all that stuff, even if it’s just a passing moment. That was something I thoroughly enjoyed in Belize, too. While everyone else was asleep, my friend James and I chatted, watching the sun rise over clouds on fire and the beautiful Belizean landscape.
Also: SHOUT OUT TO PHINEAS! My boyfriend leaves for Jamaica this coming Saturday, February 27, to serve and pray for a week. Please pray for him and his group: for their safety and for their encounter with the Father’s mercy by ministering directly to Christ in the poor during this Year of Mercy. May God bless their time together and may He show each of their hearts His Own Sacred and Merciful Heart. Go CUA! Go Mission Trips! Go Team Jamaica! Go Jesus!
Anyways, once we got to Quepos (the main town outside of Manuel Antonio National Park), we found our hostel, got situated, and headed back out to find a soda for dinner. I ordered dedos de pescado (fish fingers), and they were yummy, but they in no way compared to the fish at the soda last Sunday in Brasilito. ¡Oh, recuerdos!
We headed back to our hostel to get some rest before our adventures. It worked out very well that there were eight of us because the dormitory style hostel room was a space for eight people! So we were able to lock our door and have it be only us. I still haven’t had the “complete hostel experience” but that is totally okay with me. (The “complete hostel experience” being sleeping in a room on a bed next to a complete stranger who I really truly do not know in any way. I am sure that others who stay at hostels have incredible stories and are a very different crowd than those you find at tourist hotels, resorts, and spas, but the hookah, alcohol, and dreads sitting at the next table over while Shannon and I played Egyptian Rat Slap was enough to make me very glad we filled up our whole room with SOL students.)
The next morning, Saturday, I think I got out of bed around 5:46, give or take a few minutes 😉
Some of us stretched a little bit on our little deck while the sun was getting ready to rise behind the mountain to the east, then we ate our oh-so-filling breakfast bar breakfasts (but really, thank You, Lord, for the meal!) and got all packed up. We were picked up in two trucks, and we got on our way into the mountains that separate San Jose from the south-western/western part of the country, where Manuel Antonio is. It was about an hour drive, and what a beautiful hour drive it was. I have no words, besides to tell you that the four of us in that car keep asking each other things like, “Can you believe this?” “This is unreal” “It is all just so beautiful.” “What are we even doing right now?” “This is really something else…” There were a lot of amazed looks exchanged, coupled with excited smiles, and semi-believable stories from our guide. I think it is fair to say that for each of us, that car ride was an experience that made us realize how rare these moments are for your average or extraordinary student or human being. We are a blessed group, for sure.
When we arrived, we signed a liability release waiver, got our harness, gloves, and helmet appropriately situated, and got started. The first station was a short zip line and practice releasing the rope just to make sure we were comfortable. No water involved!
Next, there was another little zip line part, and then we had to let go of the rope and hold our hands out to the side to practice not grabbing the rope for the free fall. We couldn’t hold on to the rope because we would have gotten rope burn. If we didn’t grab the rope, they counted “1…2…” and dropped us into the water below. It wasn’t very high, no more than fifteen feet, but it was fun! And the water felt so good. It was interesting to me that, because it’s the dry season, they had built a sort of holding tank for the water. When we got to the second station, they went over to this big PVC pipe and turned a valve to release more water to make the waterfall fuller and to assure that there was enough water for us to drop into.
We were able to go on the second station twice, and I went first the second time around (Did you follow that? I barely did, and I wrote it). After the initial halfway fall with our hands out, they instructed us to flip upside down by leaning back and tucking our knees. Once upside down, we held the rope with our feet above us and our legs extended up and put out hands straight out below our head like we were diving in. Then we were dropped into the water. It was SO FUN. I was so ready for this one that I didn’t have time to scream before I was underwater! (Scream in the best way: the I’m-really-doing-this-how-incredibly-cool-is-this sort of scream).
The next station was just a small little part where we swung out on a zipline over some rocks, stopped, moved ourselves down, and then rappelled for the first time, for about twenty feet.
There honestly was not a transition from the twenty foot rappelling practice to our next and biggest waterfall: a whomping 160-foot-tall sheet of rock with a little water flowing over it. AKA a very subdued but very tall waterfall. I went last this time. Guys, it was such a cool experience. From standing at the top, looking out over this deep valley; to being in line standing on the edge and seeing my friends down at the bottom smiling up at us and cheering us on; to cheering on a particularly brave yet frightened fellow SOLmate; to kicking water over the edge onto Shannon to wish her “happy birthday”; to actually rappelling down 160 feet of rock in the Costa Rica rainforest, just me, two guides, a carabiner, and a rope: I was smiling the whole time. That minute and a half that it took to descend (probably less) was a time of learning how to get comfortable with the leaning back and with the foot positioning. By the time I was at the bottom, of course I wanted to go again! But we walked around a little bit, and then we stood under a waterfall that was going a bit stronger, and then we went to the final part.
This last station that we went to had only been approved less than ten days before. How cool, right?! First, we climbed up a 30 foot waterfall with a rope for like 7 feet and then a little wooden ladder for the rest. This was pretty because the water was splashing us as we climbed (one at a time), but it was also pretty darn easy. After waiting for everyone to get up the one waterfall, we walked less than fifty feet to the left, over to the stronger waterfall we had been standing under before. YAY! SURPRISE! We were given the chance to rappel it!! I went first again because I was just so darn excited. (Who knew I am the type to do be adventurous and outdoorsy? That’s not how I would usually describe myself, but each time I try something new, I LOVE IT.) I got to swing out Tarzan style, and then rappel down. I was more comfortable this time, and so it went a little faster. The guides, one at the top and one at the bottom, were both awesome. On the 160ft. waterfall, the one guide was splashing water over the edge as I descended: to give a “more authentic waterfall experience” is what I would call it if I were trying to sell the experience. But I am not trying to sell anything, so I will just tell you what he called it: una ducha (a shower).
After this, we hiked out to a beautiful little kitchen used by the company, where we ate a traditional Costa Rican meal. It was super yummy! Oh and I almost forgot: after lunch, we crossed a hanging bridge!!!! Oh man, that was awesome. We could see so much from there. We were far above the trees, and from above, the thick foliage looked like green carpet or rolling hills. Yes, the hanging bridge was moving, even swaying, as we went across. All these adventures. So cool.
I do not have pictures at the time, but I believe the two girls with GoPros will be making videos of the day, so I’ll add that to a blog post when they’re done!
The drive down the mountain to our hostel was beautiful too, and we heard about the company owner’s life. It was interesting! Let me know if you want to hear it sometime. He risked everything to be able to have his own company. Certainly more than I would have abandoned, but of course, it is not my story, it is his.
Once back at the hostel, we did a quick turnaround and went to Manuel Antonio beach. Pictures will follow:
Guys, thanks for tuning in and maybe reading all that, maybe just skimming, maybe only looking at pictures. Either way, God bless and let me know if there is any way I can pray for you! Miss you all, my loved ones, friends and family!
Also, possibly the last time…Here’s the link to Justice Scalia’s Funeral Mass:
God bless! Again, please send up any prayers for me that you can, and always feel free to contact me on here, through my email, or through WhatsApp to ask for prayer, catch up, say hello, invite me to spend a week at your house, etc. etc. whatever 🙂
Much love and the peace of God go with you always!
Mary, Mother of Mercy, Help of Christians, and Star of the Sea, pray for us!
St. Bernadette, pray for us!
St. Joseph, pray for us!