Another Day, Another Volcano

Today was a very active day. We hiked for about 5 1/2 hours total. We tried to start the day at the Hanging Bridges of Arenal, but all of the guides had gone out and would not be available again until 1:00 PM. We really wanted to do the hike with a guide so we decided to head down to the Arenal Volcano National Park and then return to the hanging bridges at 1:00 PM.

We hired a guide at the national park and took a two hour hike there. Mom and Dad were not able to go onto the lava fields which is why they are not in the picture above. It was a good thing that they decided not to come out onto the rocks. The hike is quite treacherous and I really would not have wanted to have to carry one of them out because they got hurt. The volcano is a perfect cone shaped volcano, unlike the other two we have visited on this trip. Until about eight months ago it was quite active, shooting out boulders and lava – Tom and I got to see it doing this on our list trip. Now it mostly just lets out steam and smoke – perhaps the calm before the storm.

Our guide at the national park (Laura) was very informative and shared some of the history of the volcano and its big eruptions. It is the deadliest of all of the volcanos in Costa Rica, having killed over 80 people. It is very impressive to look at and quite beautiful when the weather cooperates and you can see it clearly.

After the national park we headed back to the hanging bridges and met our guide (Oscar). It was Tom and my second visit to the Hanging Bridges of Arenal, but I had forgotten that it is a strenuous 2 mile hike. It is a very beautiful rainforest, but is very hilly. It turned out to be a bit difficult for Mom and Dad, but they were both able to complete the hike with a few stops along the way to rest. I was really proud of Tracy who was a trooper in spite of being afraid of heights. The highest of the suspension bridges is 150 feet off of the forest floor.

On the hike we saw many very interesting trees, plants and animals. Some highlights for me were the leaf cutter ants, eyelash pit viper and the family of pisote (coatimundi) that we watched for a while. The baby pisote were especially fun to watch. The scenery on the hike is spectacular and the perspective from the bridges is amazing.

Everyone continues to get along very well. I am more confident each day that we will all survive the trip. Hopefully Mom and Dad are not broken after today. I am sure we will all sleep very well tonight.