Day 6 – March 22
Hiking – 7.5 km (4.7 miles), 467 meters (1,532 ft) elevation gain.
Slept in and messed around this morning. Didn’t leave camp until around 7:20 a.m. because it would be a short easy day.
There was a tradition on the Outward Bound course I took in Colorado 33 years ago that every morning you got up and ran at least 30 minutes uphill and then back to camp by way of the nearest stream or lake. When you got to the water you stripped down and plunged in. The water in those streams was about 32.1 °F (0.1 °C) since it was snow about five minutes earlier. The dip I took on the morning of day 6 was much warmer.
We knew it was going to be a short day so after we broke camp we explored around a little. One of the drawbacks of getting way the hell and gone out in the middle of nowhere is that you can’t afford to linger. You can only carry so much food so you have to make a certain number of miles every day or you’ll run out of days.
I was enjoying the chance to explore up a side creek and stopped on a little rock outcropping to shot a photo straight down at some beautiful pools and white water running over smooth rocks fifteen or twenty feet below. 0.93 seconds later I was sitting in the pool with the rocks from the outcropping sitting next to me.
Rule number 15 of hiking in the rainforest – nothing is solid. It’s all been soaking and decaying for a thousand years and if you grab it, pull on it or step down, it may give way.
Fortunately I escaped with literally just a scratch.
The Toughest Waterfall Hike in Costa Rica
We still had a long haul ahead of us but we were planning a short day because the Río Lori was only a few hours away and it would be the last water before we crossed the divide. Short day today, very long day tomorrow.
But that meant we had time for a side trip to Catarata Ririgu. It was a relatively easy climb of a kilometer or so but probably qualifies as the toughest waterfall hike in Costa Rica. It took five and a half days of hard going to reach the start of the trail the middle of La Amistad international peace park
The Easy Day
Even including side trips we didn’t break the 10k mark and only gained a couple of thousand feet of elevation but it was the perfect place to take it slow. Most of the time we were walking in a stream and it was one of the most beautiful walks anywhere. The whole trip was amazing but today lingering in the heart of one of the wildest places left on earth was awe inspiring.
The difference between places that humans go and the ones that they don’t defies explanation.
Camp along the Rio Lori
Camp along the Rio Lori on the sixth night was one of the most comfortable. We arrived early after a short day. We had time to wash off in the river and even got a few glimpses of the sun because the valley was slightly more open than the near vertical walls we’d been traveling between for the previous couple of days.
We were also getting pretty good at setting up. Justin had learned the importance of stretching his rainfly and Chris was testing his hammock hanging trees before bedtime. Everyone took a nap while it rained in the afternoon.
Porter Number 6 Part II
Porter number 6 really earned his pay on day six. We’d been sharing powerbars, dried fruit, granola, jerky (Justin got this filet Mignon jerky from a rancher in Arenal that was insanely good) with the guides and porters along the trail every day but today they started asking if we had any extra. After a struggle with the culture and languages Andres figured out that they had scraped the bottom of their rations the night before and were completely out of food.
We’d brought an emergency meal thanks to Porter Number 6 and they dined in style on Mountain House freeze dried Sweet and Sour Pork and Chicken Teriyaki.
Photo Gallery Day 6 – Catarata Ririgu to Rio Lori
Each of the images below is linked to a larger version with a detailed description