This was the day with both the low point and the high point (literally the high point) of our trip. We started early in the morning with a horseback ride. Major low point, this. Our guide Jacob and his horse were both unprepared for the gig. 90 seconds of orientation on how to steer a horse (and I should add that the last time I did any real riding was about 25 years ago when I was a teenager struggling to socialize with my wealthier friends, so I was never exactly the picture of confidence on horseback), then Nadja and I are in saddles following Jacob on a way too young, skittish, barely trained animal that spooked at every branch and puddle on the steep, muddy roads for 3 hours. If you haven’t seen a horse spooking, it might not sound that scary, but they whinny in a terrified voice and rear up and try to run into the nearest herd of cows and foam from their bit sprays everywhere and since you’re seated on one of its friends, you have no way of knowing if its freakout is going to infect the whole herd and if you yourself are going to end up brains first on a boulder in the middle of the road. I felt so bad for the poor creature, and even worse when Jacob insisted on whipping it into a run and shouting for us to do the same. Luckily our own horses, Johnnie and Walker, were calm beasts who knew the trail and whose fondest wish was to eat the sugarcane hanging over the road.

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We hobbled back to base camp when that finally ended, and then picked ourselves up to tackle the SkyTrek zipline after lunch. Well, we meant to. Ziplining is what you do in Costa Rica. But the whole air was one big cloud, so we wouldn’t have seen anything, and plus we could barely walk after our morning at the races. So we opted for the tram. You sit in an open gondola cage with a guide and sail over the canopy and someone else does all the work. It was freezing, we were soaked, the wind was about 75 kilometers per hour, and you could only see one fuzzy branch in 12 because visibility was so low at 1700 meters, but it was perfect.

And at the top, a nice man met us with hot chocolate and Nicaraguan rum.

Nadja at the top of the cloud forest

Nadja at the top of the cloud forest

 

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Radagast the Brown

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A friendly coati. Don’t you people have ANY bananas?

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The view from our room

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