23 River Crossings and 9 Kilometers Later

Trip Start May 11, 2006
Trip End May 15, 2006

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Friday, May 12, 2006

After a series of random bumps and dusty potholes, the taxi driver kicked us off a little past Guadalupe at the first river crossing. He assured us that we could make it to the entry of the rainforest in about an hour and 20 or so river crossings later. So we slid off our boots, donned our slip-slops and went on our way.

Hiking upriver allowed us to gradually get a sense of our surroundings. The steamy jungle grew thick and tangled right up to the edge of the riverbank and it felt like we were skirting our way along the fringes of a soon to be discovered wilderness. At one point we took a wrong turn off the worn path into an Indian village, where the natives came out and gave us directions in broken Spanish. We regained our bearings and headed back upriver, consciously trying to follow in the tracks of 4WD pickups long passed.

As we moved along, the sounds of click-clicking and rustling leaves told us that we were not alone. Tiny frogs chirped and jumped out of our way, and a jittery jesus lizard skipped frantically across the surface of the water as we approached, reaching the other side of the river and clinging on to a branch that had fallen in. With his head cocked sideways, he eyed us suspiciously as if he wasn't sure what our next move would be. The trek upstream was a stirring introduction to the jungle lands we were about to enter.

23 river crossings and 9 kilometers later, we came upon the edge of the Corcovado Rainforest, welcomed by a park ranger about to make his way into the interior. He said that after heading straight into the rainforest from where we were, it was still a muddy 2 kilometers uphill before we would get to Los Patos Ranger Station, our stop for the night. He told us that if we followed him in, he could show us a trail to a hidden waterfall where we could wash off. At this point we were clocking in at an hour or so from our first river crossing in Guadalupe. Not too bad, we thought, we were right on schedule.

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