Monday, March 19, 2012

Reaching New Heights

A week ago, when I found out Liz wouldn’t be coming, I thought this weekend would be long and boring, and that I would be in danger of spending it alone at home, moping.  How far that turned out to be from the truth!  This weekend has been perfect: relaxing, fun, active.

Yesterday, Danielle and I made a quest to El Yunque with the goal of climbing a new trail.  Looking at the map, we tentatively decided to try for the top—El Yunque Peak; the highest point in the park.  However, we knew that time constraints and energy levels might turn out to be a factor.  (We started hiking at 1pm.  The gate to the national park closes at 6pm so we had to plan on being back to the car by 5pm.  The hike was supposed to take at least 3-4 hours round trip.  We knew it’d probably take us longer than that, due to side trips, rest breaks, and stopping to enjoy the scenery). 

We set off boldly into uncharted (for us) territory.  Immediately, we were engulfed in the relaxing sounds of El Yunque.  We listened to coquis (I think the plural of “coqui” looks so weird) call to each other, and birds sing in the trees.  On our way up, we met exactly 2 other pairs of hikers; the trail was much less populated with tourists than the more popular Big Tree and La Mina Falls trails.  I enjoyed that. 

My pictures of the rain forest never do it justice.

After nearly an hour of hiking, we came to a turn off for the Mt. Britton Spur trail.  It was short; so we decided to detour and enjoy the views from the lookout. 

Do you see the lookout on the top of that hill?

That one--the little thimble-shaped building shrouded in mist right above
the palm frond.  That's the Mt. Britton tower.  We hiked to that!

Mt. Britton Lookout Tower

The Mt. Britton lookout tower ended up being the final destination of our hike.  Once up there, enjoying the views, we decided we were content with ourselves and should just hike back down. 

View from the tower.  We were right on a level with the clouds!

That's my car down there in that little parking lot!

We kept remarking how lucky we were it hadn’t rained on us at all (especially after seeing the line of dark grey clouds hovering over the entire rainforest from the lookout tour).  We should have been knocking on the wooden trees we passed…because of course it started raining on our way down. 

I had a rain poncho along, and Danielle had a raincoat.  But you see…I have this problem with ponchos.  I never choose the exact right moment to put it on.  I either put it on as soon as it starts raining, and then it stops raining right away.  Or I don’t put it on, thinking it will stop raining, and then it starts pouring.  Or, like yesterday, I avoid putting it on, until I start to get thoroughly wet, and then I wonder if there’s really a point to putting on the thing, since I’m already wet.  I eventually put the poncho on (and let Danielle laugh at me for looking like a big blue wizard), and then it stopped raining about 10 minutes later.  Oh well. 

A little damp but very happy, we finished our hike and set off for Luquillo and food.  I’d say it was a truly successful Sunday adventure.  

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