Friday, June 1, 2012

On Top of the World

From the Yokahu lookout tower
The 2 points we hiked to.

I like hiking.  Like a lot.  I always have.  When I was little, I would look forward to the yearly school trip to Hixon Forest, hoping each year that we’d spend more time in the woods than in the visitor’s center.  I’d beg my parents to take me to Perrot Park in Trempealeau.  I would climb up in the pasture behind my grandma’s house with my cousins, “discovering” rock formations and tree forts and exploring the ridge as if there were a possibility of finding new areas.  One of my all-time favorite vacations was the summer I was 18, when we camped in the Canadian Rockies and I hiked up to the glacier at Lake Louise.  The hike included clambering over snow and ice at one point, and hanging onto a rope on the side of the mountain at another.  I was in love.

This past weekend, Liz and I spent three days hiking in El Yunque, the national rainforest of Puerto Rico.  This became one of the highlights of my entire year.  I hope it’s an experience I can repeat next year.

On Sunday, Liz and I hiked to the highest point in El Yunque.  We took a detour on our way and hiked to the top of Los Picachos, which I must say looks even more impressive looking down on the hike than looking out from the top of it. 

The final steps up to Los Picachos

view from Los Picachos

Los Picachos--the twin peaks

We then stopped at a rock outcropping another hiker told us is called Devil’s Fall, where we truly felt like we were on top of the world.  Apparently it is called “Devil’s Fall” because on a cloudy day, you can sit on the edge there and watch the clouds roll up, the moisture hitting you in the face.  But as the clouds pass, they can attempt to pull one down with them, which is why it’s important to sit and hang on!

We then finally made our way to Roca El Yunque—the highest point.   It was miraculously a clear day with not a rain cloud in sight, and we had great visibility from the peak. 
View from the highest point in El Yunque

climbing up the last bit to the top...

Okay...maybe it wasn't as steep as I was
making it look.  Photo illusion fail due to
people in the background! haha

After hiking to the top, Liz and I were feeling ambitious and decided to do one more short hike.  (The first hike had taken us just 3 hours round trip).  We ventured to the popular La Mina trail down to the waterfall there, but the trail was closed due to repairs.  We followed a group of people over the barrier, but after not even a quarter mile, we decided to turn back because sections of the trail were literally just missing and piles of rocks, etc, were strewn about.

Yeah, the railing's supposed to continue there.
And the path...there's supposed to be one.

Deciding that we were suitably tired for the day, we then drove to the Casa Cabuy Eco Lodge, where we were spent the next two nights, finding the perfect balance between hiking and relaxing .

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