Saturday, March 28, 2009

Monteverde Waterfall - Saturday 3-28-2009

I eat pancakes for lunch (from last night's batter) with Rose from Maryland and Ann from Wisconsin. They are college students back in the States who are in Costa Rica for a semester doing social work. They work in soup kitchen. Ann also works a couple days a week at a local program similar to Headstart back home. Rose's soup kitchen operates out of a priest’s house in San Jose, serving people who are so hungry they dig in San Jose’s landfill for food. Both women love their work, and are in Monteverde for a weekend getaway.

After lunch, I walk east on the paved road that to the Monteverde Preserve. Retracing yesterday’s steps, I walk about one mile to the Monteverde Waterfall (opens at 8AM, closes irregularly, $8 per person, night tours available; from Manakin Lodge, walk east along the paved road towards the Monteverde Preserve until the paved road turns to gravel and then walk another half a mile down the gravel road; it will be on your right) just off the gravel road that leads to the Monteverde Preserve, but before the Monteverde’s town center. I walk down the dirt path to the information shack. A note advises me that the attendant is away and to pay when I leave. A yellow sign points towards the trail and says the waterfall is one kilometer away. The trail leads steeply down and I have to hang onto the climbing ropes several times to keep my footing. The ten minute walk to the river valley passes quickly. I follow the trail along a brook, and then past several shallow, wide pools. I continue until a rope originating from the opposite river bank and strung across the river blocks my path. I turn back and rest a while, soaking my feet in the cold water. Feeling adventurous, I go back to the roped off trail. Taking a closer look, I can see that the trail continues along the other bank and that this rope does not block my path. Rather it is a guide rope for me to hold as I cross the slippery rocks leading to the opposite bank. I grab hold of the rope and cross easily. I follow the trail and walk right up to the waterfall. One small pool and one larger, deeper pool separate me from the waterfall. I stop to take pictures, then drop my gear except for my camera and wade into the cool water. I climb on a rock and take several pictures of the waterfall and surrounding valley. The valley walls are nearly perfectly vertical. Strangler vines and tree roots descend the cliff walls. I notice that no direct sunlight reaches this hidden spot. I wade across the pool to a log and climb on it for a better shot of the waterfall. Satisfied, I cross back to shore, but then I try to jam my camera into the waterproof pocket of my swim trunks. The switch that toggles picture taking mode and picture reviewing mode breaks off. I search the leaves and muck for the switch in vain but come up empty. I put my camera down on shore and wade back out to the deeper pool. It’s peaceful here. Even the roar of the falls is calming. The water flows around me. I hang onto a log and test how deep the deeper pool is. The water is nearly up to my waist and I still I can’t touch the bottom. I’m cold. I hang on a few seconds in the cold water, then pull myself up onto the log. I linger a few more minutes to admire this beautiful waterfall and its pools. Finally, I gather my things and leave.

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