A place to share words and pics. Mostly bikes, but my photog eye does wander.

Bikes let the good times roll. In solitude or with friends. For a half hour or 8 hours. Pedals become the gears that turn the earth as the sun seems to track their motion, day after day. Miles become food, and you're hungry. The bike stops being a vehicle, or toy, or transportation and becomes an extension of will, allowing you to journey beyond the pain of self into the realm of almighty, joyous nature, she that feeds our souls. Pedal yourself into the maw of creation. Pedal yourself silly.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 3: Journey to the Volcano

Day three of our journey was to take us to Arenal Volcano and the town of Fortuna. Arenal is one of the few active volcanoes in Costa rica, although there is evidence for hundreds of them. All it really does now is spew toxic gas, but in 1968 it got serious and destroyed two villages that were at the base of the volcano.

We booked everything for the day with Camino Verde, as Jose was very helpful. We got our Jeep-Boat-Jeep travel, our reservations at La Pradera out side of La Fortuna, a guided nature hike and passes to Tabacon Hot Springs. One swipe of the card and we were on our way.  I was a bit disappointed when a bus pulled up to take us to the lake where we'd get the boat instead of a jeep, but I grew quickly accustomed to the AC. The bus took off and wound around mountains on a nicely graded dirt road through some of the most beautiful, greenest land I've ever seen.

Just gazing upon it made me feel like everything in the world is ok, as if we'd forever be cradled and cared for by the Earth. At once you realized how naturally jaded you are by the separations created by a concrete and asphalt life, but it's only a defense mechanism so you don't yearn daily for the wonder that is nature, thus destroying the balance of modern life - semi-conscientious disavowal of your natural, slow paced, numinous, mysterious life, in exchange for the ego-centric, soul crushing buy-and-sell of your interests by those that profit off of your time in exchange for "your place". I ride a lot and I get some of this back. It pays dividends when your soul is uncertain, but faced with the fertile and vibrant life force of Costa Rica, you certainly desire to have it in your life every day and get rid of the chatter. Slow down a bit. A garden in the backyard, herbs in the window, flowers on the sill, paths leading from your front door, drinkable running water, wildlife that see you too as wildlife. Its a more natural place. Calming without pretense. Peace without jurisdiction.

Behold, the land of myths.
I could ride around these hills all day.  Or just gaze upon them.

We approached Arenal.

There were a enough signs of civilization. Some lucky chap gets to live here.

This green sure is better than the color of money.
Do we look like touristos or what?
And the boat arrives.

Aaaahhhhh!!!!! She's gonna blow!
Plenty of fertile land for farming.

We reached the other side of the lake and after dropping our luggage off, we headed to town for some grub. Town was pricey, but we found some casados for about $7. And the rice came as a volcano, so bonus.
The next order of business after food, was to go on a little hike before heading to the hot springs. We were in a little guided group, led by Franklin, and we proceeded to walk around for about an hour and a half.

Lots of ants here. I guess these ones are vegetarians.

Franklin showed us how to cure a hangover. "I give this to some Germans that drank many the night before - they say, 'Franklin, you save us!'" Too funny.

Arty green shot.

These are ferns and are about 30ft. tall. Millions of years old they are.
Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs.....

This crazy plant had some nice smackers.
Arenal Volcano. The sides are devoid of plants due to the gases that are released then brought down to the ground by the rains. The soil doesn't sustain life well. See, Mother Nature pollutes, so it must be natural!

Lake Arenal that we crossed by boat.

And the clouds move in, as they did every night.

Our last event for the day, was a buffet dinner at the Tabacon Hot Springs and a little soak. The volcano warmed water that flowed under ground, then as it surfaced, resorts ran it through their property. It was certainly warm.

A night time shot. They had great lighting, and sitting under the waterfall here was like being in a sauna. Let the water fall on you and it was like a massage. It was quite nice, but ultimately not worth the cash we laid down. It wasn't too much, but half price down the street at Baldi probably would have been just as enjoyable.
The day was a long one, with bus and boat travel, a walk around town, jungle tour, buffet and hot springs, but we enjoyed it. Lots of sights to see. The next day would be spent walking around La Fortuna.