I’ve dreamed of being on the edge of a volcano, staring into the abyss that leads to the center of our earth. Rising smoke and golden molten lava.
Rincon de la Vieja in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica seemed to be my chance to make this dream a reality. As I arrive to the park’s entrance, the first sign I see dashes those hopes…..”volcano trail closed due to unstable activity…”
Bummed for sure, but my guide tells me of another trail that leads to an amazing waterfall, and we will still see the volcano along the route. I’m all in for this alternate adventure. As we get our tickets their is a table display containing jars of various poisonous snakes that have been caught in the park.
My adrenaline skyrockets as we start our hike.
My shirt becomes a sweaty and soaked mess minutes into the hike as the humidity is no joke here in Costa Rica. I hydrate and carry on as my guide points out the wildlife in the trees. We make out way past aloe and agave plants, then come to an open meadow where the smoke from the volcano is rising in the distance like a slow moving marching band.
After a few miles, we start to descend into a canyon. We both slip on the rocks and smile as we take it slowly the rest of the way to the water. No reason to hurry and twist an ankle in the jungle.
I hear the deafening roar of the waterfall well before I see it. Once we arrive the cascading spray cools our skin in refreshing fashion as the clear blue water hypnotizes my senses. One old man is bravely stripping down and skinny dipping in the cool water.
We decide to hike around to get closer to the waterfall itself. We carefully cross the river over moss covered rocks, then make our way through the lush jungle to get behind and under the waterfall. As we near, I slip and feel a sharp pain in my groin. A protruding stick impales me and almost takes out my right testicle. Luckily though I am only bleeding on my upper leg, and the injury doesn’t prevent me from hiking back out.
My guide tells me that sixty percent of the people that try this hike do not complete it, so I feel a great sense of accomplishment.
Pura Vida my friends.