Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just Call Me Miss Adventure

That's me!

Last Saturday, I had the adventure of a lifetime.  My friends Nick and Mandy were visiting me from Wisconsin, and we decided to do something “extreme” while they were here.  We settled on a rappelling/ziplining adventure that took us to the Carite Rainforest on a hike where there were certainly no manicured paths to follow.  It’s an experience I will never ever forget!

The day started at 9:30am, when the tour company picked us up in the Walgreens parking lot in Caguas.  From there we drove maybe half an hour through winding, mountain roads—with beautiful views!  Then we parked the van at an abandoned school , harnessed up, and got our helmets.  Next it was off to hike up a steep road for maybe 10 minutes (I thought this was the most physically taxing part of the day…though my back muscles argued differently the next morning). 

We came to a mountain stream and waded in.  Our guide, Marco, told us, “Get your feet wet, and get used to it…this was the last time they’ll be dry on this tour.”  He was right…we waded upstream through the stream, stepping carefully on the slippery rocks.  Usually the water was less than knee deep, but in several occasions it was a little deeper.  I only fell once—landing softly in a sitting position, water up to my waist.  How refreshing.  J 

We came to several small waterfalls and climbed up them with the help of ropes the company had tied there before, and instructions from the guides about where to put our feet.  (It was this part, pulling myself up with the rope, that had my back complaining the next morning). 

After a while, we left the river and climbed up the muddy mountain side.  Again there were often ropes secured on the path to help us pull ourselves along, but no paved or gravel “paths” to follow. 

At the top of the hill, we came to the lip of the 80 foot waterfall we would rappel down.  Standing there, we couldn’t see over the edge to see how far down it was.  They briefed us on what to do, and then one at a time, we made our way over the edge.

When I finally DID see over the lip, the view was completely invigorating!  It was high…but in a thrilling, not petrifying, way.  The rappel down was fun, though I doubt I managed it gracefully.  J  And landing in the water at the bottom was an adrenaline rush in itself, looking back up and thinking, “I just did that!!” 

Nick on his way down.

After rappelling, we hiked to the ziplines, and took 3 lines, each cutting over the river canyon and providing breathtaking views of the canopy, the valley, and the surrounding mountains.  I took a video of Rachel on the zipline.  

Then it was a hike back downstream the same way we’d come in, and back down the hill, until we reached the van again.  We had a chance to change into dry clothes (yay!), and then we went to “Grandma’s house” for lunch.  …It really was the home of the grandmother of our guide, Christian.  Like, really.  I used the woman’s own bathroom, along with about 10 other trekkers.  It was such a homey, comfortable feel!  And of course the food, authentic Puerto Rican and home cooked, was amazing. 

"Grandma's House" with Grandma's family sitting
out on the porch with her.

Pictures don’t really do the day justice.  You’d have to experience it.  In fact, I encourage you to!  Come visit me, and we can go too.  J  

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