Sunday, March 1, 2009

Turning Blue

By Graham

The sky was overcast. It had started to drizzle. We were hiking on the slopes of the dormant volcano Tenorio toward the Rio Celeste.

The air was muggy and thick. Tall trees loomed over us, barely letting light in. This is the primary rainforest. Small dirt trails wound around tree roots and plants. The rainforest around Tenorio was different from other rainforests we have visited; it was a ton wetter. Moss grew everywhere, and giant tree ferns with monkey-like tails grew next to the path.

A little way in, the jungle thickened. We heard the sound of rushing water. We had come to our first obstacle. A small river, which we had to cross by hopping stones, flowed by at a fast pace. We stumbled across.

The trail became muddier, steeper, and narrower. We started to slip and slide. I noticed a hole in the ground and walked over to see what lived in it. YELP!!! I jumped back. The air coming out of it was super hot. The steam came from lava warming an underground river. After that, we saw many more steam vents, reminding us that we were hiking on a volcano.

I heard the sound of rushing water again. We arrived at another river, and my family froze like statues. The river water was the most gorgeous bright blue, unlike the blue that you see in oceans or lakes. This blue was formed by a chemical reaction of copper, carbonates, and sulfur coming from underwater volcanic vents. A waterfall, with a sound like thunder, shot out of the green jungle and fell into a blue pool below.

Further upstream we saw where a volcanic vent added the copper to the clear river water, turning it blue.

From there, we started to walk to a natural hot spring. The trail became so steep and slippery it was nearly impossible for Katharine and me to climb up. We were starting to tire. As we crossed a log bridge with no rails, Katharine lost her footing. Slurp! She fell into the mud. As Dad tried to pull her out, I walked on. Soon I was calling for help because I had fallen off the bridge and my foot was stuck in the mud. As I tried to pull my foot out, my shoe nearly came off. When I looked back at Katharine I burst into laughter. She was covered in mud.

The hot spring bubbled up from a hole in the rock at the edge of the blue river. Park rangers had used boulders to create a small pool where you could relax in the hot water. We stripped down to our swimsuits and bathed for a half hour.

On the way back to our car, the guide suddenly stopped. He whispered that he had spotted the bare-necked umbrella bird. It must have been our lucky day. The umbrella bird is very rare to see. The guide had only seen it once, two years earlier. We had been dying to see an umbrella bird ever since we mistook a crested guan for one while hiking in another park. The bird had a mohawk array of head feathers and a big red wattle. Behind it was the female; she was all black. The birds flew all around us, even right above us.

When we emerged out of the forest we were so tired we could barely stand. After seven hours of walking we were ready to go home.

Some people pay extra for mud baths.

This time, the hot air isn't coming from Graham.

Blue lagoon. Donde esta Brooke?

Where the river starts to feel blue

The author considers his next masterpiece

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I learned from your adventures on Rover North's Magazine, (as I'm in the process of selling my Ducati Multistrada 620 bought in Maine, for a 1959 Series II soft top, rebuilt in Costa Rica, if I can bridge the sale of the bike and the purchase of the Landy with a short term loan). I wanted to know if and when you made it here to the Americas. I am glad to learn that you managed to mingle and enjoy Costarican life without much hassle. I did live in New England for two years and had a great time and I still have friends in the States! If you ever decide to catch some more UV radiation don't hesitate to drop me a line! Perhaps you could try the humid Pacific region and gomto the Manuel Antonio National Park. II am in twitter as @rbruce63 and in Facebook as Robert H. Bruce.