QuickPeek: Short day. Expensive hostel.
It was a strange night to sleep in, the Coates would show up once in a while and sniff around and since I had out my hammock pretty low, I wasn’t sure if they might take a bite of my butt to see if I was edible. Around 7, the rain started and it was a horrendous downpour. Thro the night, the rain wouldn’t stop, just slowdown a bit and then piss on me heavily. After a while, there was lightning and being so high up in the mountain, it felt like the Lightning was right by me. I was hoping it wouldn’t strike me down. Overall, an unnerving nights sleep.
It was a good experience hammocking under these conditions though, for one, I had set my rain fly too high and that meant with the strong winds, the rain was all over inside my hammock. There was dead wood falling from the trees and every once in a while, it would shake my hammock like some one jerked the cables. Also the rain fly didn’t drain the water and when I got up, there was 10 liter of water on the fly, luckily it didn’t collapse on me in the night. Would have been a bitch. Anyway, lots of lessons learnt. My bag, shoes, sandals, hands, legs, everything was coated in mud too, yuck.
I packed up in the light shower in the morning and made my way down. It was a steep, muddy descent, though shorter than the side I climbed on. I hadn’t eaten b’fast and without much energy, the going was really slow. Took me nearly 2 hrs to get down to the farm road. The forest was pretty and lovely to hike thro though. On a good day, it might have been a nice day hike, but turned out to be quite an adventure for me.
Once down at the farm road, I walked around and there were many signs for all the attractions in the property. I walked up to a hanging bridge and a waterfall and eventually hit up on the lodge with a fancy reception. They wouldn’t offer me camping space and that was a bit of a bummer. This was a fancy lodge with a single room selling at 140 usd. wtf! I was really tired, I hadn’t had a rest day in 4 days of hiking and hung about in their lobby for a couple hours, charging my stuff, drying and resting my feet. A Korean Granny from California, chatted me up and I kept her entertained while she waited for the rest of her family to show up.
Later on, I decided I might try and check out the route I had in mind which was on the south west side of Lago Arenal. I walked down the gravel track and walked towards the village of El Castillo. I figured I might get lucky and find a place to sleep for the night. As I walked along, I realized this was to be another tourist town, for the adventurous kind, offering rafting, bungee jumping etc… So I was not to have much luck with campsites I reckon’d.
Many tourists passed me by, in the sun and in the rain, I waved at everyone, just being genial, but was surprised that no one even bothered to offer me a ride. Not that I’d take it, but just goes to showing the attitude people take while traveling. It reminded me of the time in NZ, one driving, the other sleeping. The only ones who offered me rides in NZ were kiwis. Likewise, the only time I was offered a ride on the road in the past few days was by a local farmer.
Anyhow, I got to this village and being very hungry, hopped into the Soda on the main drag and paid top $ for a small plate of fried rice, duh. I asked around and one lady offered her neighbour’s yard for hammocking at 10$, no toilets. Shit. There was a hostel and the guy was pretty friendly and I tried to see if I could hammock in his yard. After a bit of talking with his boss, the best he could offer me was a room at 20$. Dang. I was too tired and given the guy was nice and gave me a 30% discount, I couldn’t refuse anymore. With showers and wifi, the place was paradise.
Route: Summit of Cerro Chato to El Castillo
Distance: 12.7 Km
Road: Muddy trail on hill. Gravel road to El Castillo.
Traffic: Pretty sparse.
Services: Few options in El Castillo
Expenses: SG$ 40.08
Comments: Hopefully, I can manage to cut down in cost in the days ahead.