San Jose^2

Kieran and Denise's Blog of their adventure in Costa Rica. Start reading from the bottom if you want it to make sense.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

World Record Rain in the Rain Forest-traps us!

We woke at 5AM Sunday to take the Taxi Collectivo to Carate. Basically a pick-up truck with wood benches and a canopy. Denise and I sat up front to get the best view. The trip was 2 hours and quite beautiful. At times I felt we were in the plains of Africa and other times we were in the Jungle.

The road was rough and slow with several aggresive river crossings. We arrived in Carate, which was basically a Cantina. I asked Denise what she wanted to do and we defaulted to the book recommendation of the Corcovado Tent Lodge Cabins which was a 40 minute walk down the beach. I picked up the two big packs and headed out to the beach.

It was gorgeous. We had to cross a river with the jungle on our right and beautiful pacific waves on our left. We trekked off at a good pace as we didn't have any reservations and I figured I wanted to be there before everyone else in case they were filling up. It was a serious workout crossing the soft sand on the beach.

The jungle was covered in these pairs of beautiful scarlet macaws. We would see upto a dozen fly over us at once. We made it to the cabins and hustled up to find the front desk, so to speak. There was room for us. They explained how the meals and accomodations worked and gave us the tent with the best view overlooking the beach.

It was hot and sunny so Denise and I didn't hesitate to change into swim wear and hit the waves. They were very strong here and we were warned to respect the riptide and focus on swimming at low tide of 1PM. We grabbed boogie boards and put a life jacket close to shore just in case Denise got sucked out. We played in the waves, but they were really rough and Denise decided she had had enough. I moved further out where the waves weren't tossing you onto the beach. Since I was the only one in the surf I took it easy and came in after an hour.

We headed up to the bar hut and I met up with a guy visiting his sister who worked at the lodge. He agreed to join me to Boogie board and headed out further into the surf. We had some good body surfing but mostly we got smacked around. At one point we tried to get in and spent about 15 minutes realizing we werent' able to get in. Codie got lucky and caught a good wave that put him close to the beach. I was only about 25 ft from shore but I wasn't getting any closer no matter hard I tried, so I just played it cool until my wave came in. I got pushed to shallower water and that was enough for me.

We headed up for lunch. I ate with a passion. It was really nice to have a wide selection of dishes and not have to eat Denise's left overs for a change. Shortly after lunch it started to rain. Then it really started to pour and so I headed to the bar and picked up a Lance Armstrong's "It's not about the bike". The future of sports competition is truly frightening when parents start to realize the level of single minded focus that's necessary in order to win. It's one thing to have a ten year career starting at 7 and peaking at 17. It's another to start at 12 and go to 32.

But most importantly, Denise and I felt like we were on vacation. Over the next day I would read 1 and 2 half books and Denise would read over 3. We were just eating and reading and enjoying not travelling. But as the rain continued into the night we started to realize this was going to have lots of consequences. We put in a request to get the next flight out that evening.

In the morning, we were told we were trapped. The jungle was saturated, the beach was torn open in a dozen places sometimes digging trenches 3-4 feet deep and 12 ft wide. The little river by the cantina we had crossed was now uncrossable. More imporantly, the resources of the ranger stations in Corcovado would be stretched as everyone would be hunkered down riding out the storm. That is if you could get to the ranger stations. If the beaches were now rivers, the rivers were going to be more like waterfalls. We later learned that we got over 17 inches in 24 hours approximately a recorded 15 year record.

I am sure that lousy old tents that everyone was renting in Corcovado had failed after 12 inches of rain. We huddled up in the bar and enjoyed 3 endless gourmet meals, bottomless coffee, and chocolate cookies. We couldn't get to the landing strip to fly, and the trucks couldn't cross the swollen rivers we had driven across on the way in. We were stuck and enjoying it.

This morning over breakfast we decided that while the rain had slowed it was best to get out while we could. The last river before the Cantina was deep, fast, and we were crossing at high tide meaning the waves coming in were swelling the river over a foot high every thirty seconds. In the end, I decided to get some hero points by carrying Denise across the river as the water was rushing and swelling. The extra weight would help to keep my feet stable.

Shortly after we arrived a convoy of 4 vehicles headed out to cross the river. We got a flat tire in the first river crossing. The second river crossing the van got stuck in the river and had to be pulled out by the jeep. We made it Puerto Jiminez and decided not to wait until 5PM for the 9 hour bus ride to San Jose. We scrambled to the airport and caught the last flight out to San Jose.

We have had to scrap some of our trip including hiking Cherripo, and river rafting. We talked to a Dane and German who had taken 5 days to complete the hike to Seripo Ranger Station hike I wanted to do in two. They were doing river crossings upto their chests and had to do as many as 20 of them for a single river. This was before the rain, so I had no doubt that we made the right decision not to push through.

We might try to do Irazu Volcano tommorow and then head off to the carribean for some good relaxing turtle watching and kayaking.