Serious jungle, serious volcano, no lava

Trip Start Nov 01, 2011
Trip End May 23, 2012

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What I did
cerro chato volcano

Flag of Costa Rica  , Alajuela,
Friday, December 16, 2011

Quick blog entry for a quick stop.  CR's been totally different form Nicaragua.  Way more touristy, more expensive, typical backpacker gripes.  However, I have found that if you shop around and don't just take the first place that a promoter recommends in order to get their commission then you can keep your costs down somewhat. 

La fortuna and the Arenal lake are serious jungle country, way wetter and cooler than nicaragua.  Unfortunatley the Arenal volcano which was reputedly active and constantly draining its pyroplastic lava flows down its side has gone dormant, about a year ago.....zzzzzzzzz  I saw the seismograph for the volcano and it was "flatline".  No lava for Matty.  It was still pretty neat to see the volcano and its side all strewn with volcanic wreckage though.  The arenal volcano is actually the "baby" volcano form the cerro chato one; it sprung out of the side of its mother and grew to her size and more in a span of roughly 25 years.  volcanos jump up around here with pressure then subside quickly when their volcanic force dies down, quite remarkable how quick it happens, kind of like a zit really.

Anyhow, we climbed cerro chato, very wet and muddy with a nice cloud forest at the top.  Then we hiked down into her crater lake.  That was something else. 

I asked our guide if there were any snakes;  he said only Anacondas.
I didn't care though; this was my second crater lake and I didn't swim in the first one.
The water was literally green as i dove into it and opened my eyes.
It was green and clear, so green and yet so clear!
I swam out a ways form shore.  My group grew small on the shoreline.
All I could hear was the water, the wind, and their far off voices. 

Some places truly are magical. 

Cloud and mist rolled over the rim of the crater into the lake basin.
There was nothing but thick jungle lining the crater's slopes,
As if the jungle just carried right into the lake itself, giving the water its green hue.
Wind blew over the lake.   The water was cool but i was still warm from the hike.

There was no river out of the crater.
It was just collected rainwater, yet there was 
no stagnation.  The trees must drink up the water like one big animal.

I remember dreaming as a child of swimming downwards in a perfect lake
and seeing a rainbow light, then emerging into another world. 
This was one of those places which dreams were made of I think.

Of note, we had guides for this trek: a turkey vulture (a large bird, too fat to fly with lovely colours) walked ahead of us up the trail on the climb up.  A dog followed us on the way down too, not quite as exciting. 


Ps sleep cycles are still screwed up from late nights in San Juan Del Sur.  my legs hurt from hiking. 
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Matt's Mom on

Matt...I do think you are becoming a poet, or an author, not sure which? Love hearing you talk about your experiences. It's like you're finally alive.

Love you!


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