Swinging — Tarzan-style

One of my most favorite moments of our Costa Rica trip was the afternoon we spent hiking in the rain forest. We drove up to the location, donned rain jackets and headed out. Almost as soon as we hit the trees, it started raining. But it was pleasant rain, warm and soft. Rain and cameras aren’t a good combination, though.

When I lived on a ship for two years, in Antigua I went to see a rock formation called “Devil’s Bridge.” It’s just that: a naturally formed rock bridge on a small cliff overlooking the ocean. When waves come in, water shoots up underneath the bridge and sprays off the rock wall on the opposite side.

My camera met it’s demise on that bridge. As I stood on the bridge, a big wave surprised me and soaked the camera. I took it to a camera shop in Martinique to be fixed, but it was never the same again. Thus, I have very few pictures from about 2004 to 2005. Oops.

Back to the rain forest. I think there were about 13 hanging bridges along a trail that ascended the mountain and came down to the starting point in a 2 mile loop. Of course, we had to get in the middle of the bridge and trying swinging it back and forth.  That didn’t make the Swiss people behind us very happy. (We decided they were Swiss, based on the hiking boots and dorky walking poles they had. It really wasn’t a hard hike. Emily was 7 months pregnant and doing just fine!)

The forest was super-lush, reminding me of the region of Ecuador where I grew up.

My husband didn’t have a rain jacket, and this really sweet lady who worked at the hanging bridges attraction lent him hers. She didn’t even ask for payment, she just did it to be nice. It saved him from walking around wet all day.

Another funny moment was when we saw a couple who had been on our flight at the hanging gardens entry point. On our flight into San Jose, my wonderful husband upgraded Emily and I to first class using his miles. Across the aisle from us was a couple who drew plenty of attention. He was older, with skin that seemed to say he had spent too much time in the sun. His hair was thin, dyed brown and he had that middle-aged man still wanting to be young belly.

His girlfriend was in her 20s, tanning bed dark, with long black hair, fake breasts and a skin-tight dress. She looked like someone who got cut from the Playboy mansion. They carried on for the whole flight, asking for alcohol, making out and taking turns napping on each others laps. We decided they were from L.A., he was an executive in the movie business and she was a wannabe starlet using him as a sugar daddy. When we gathered our luggage on the way out, they were behind us in line. We noticed they had about 12 gold suitcases. It was strange.

Anyway, just as we finished our hike, we heard a helicopter land. Near the restaurant, we saw the same couple, along with an entourage of similarly clad people. The girls were feeding the macaws bananas, and screeching each time the bird cawed. We decided they had arrived in the helicopter. The man from the flight spent the whole time on his cell phone, while the dark haired girl leaned as far over the railing as she could in her heels, tight red capris and cropped white t-shirt. It was like one of those bad reality shows.

We didn’t pay for the naturalist to walk with us through the jungle, but a couple coming back from their hike as we were getting leaving told us how thrilled they were to see a red tree frog. We kept our eyes peeled as we walked, thinking it was some rare sight only the trained naturalist could find. We saw at least 4. This little guy didn’t mind lots of close-up photos. Emily later bought a water color painting of this frog to hang in her future son’s room.

It was probably shortly after this that the “Swiss” couple chewed us out.

At one point, I looked over and realized we were in the tree tops. Rain forest vegetation is designed to either need very low light, or have all the leaves at the top of the plant in order to maximize sun capturing. You can see that here. You can also see rain drops smearing my lens-finder.

A side trail led us down to this waterfall, which the boys then had to climb. Rain + waterfall spray makes for blurry photos.

The hanging bridges were excellent. Not to strenuous  but totally enjoyable and connecting with nature-ish. It was a great was to celebrate Costa Rica’s natural beauty.

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