QuickPeek: Flat road. River crossings. Overcast day. Hospitality.

A shower and a place to dry my stuff was paradise! It was expensive by my budget, but staying at Mike’s hostel was well worthy it. I slept real well and woke up refreshed. It rained all night and I was glad to be inside a room and when I got up, it was still pouring and the prospect of a walk along was pretty poor.

Mike came by and offered me some coffee and we chatted for a while. He was a pretty interesting chap and had worked in the high energy physics lab in Stanford! Not often one gets to hobnob with people who have worked on esoteric stuff eh!
The weather cleared around 10 and after consulting with mike, I decided to head out today.

He predicted a mostly dry day, and the weather did stay away almost all the way. He was a nice chap and even offered me a ride up to the first River, Rio Cano Negro (a wide one), about 2 k’s away. I took up the offer and when we got to the river, we saw that it wasn’t running too high, may be slightly above knee deep in parts. He gave me some tips on the shallow parts of the river and I started on my way. It’s been a while since I’ve had to wade thro rivers and I managed it ok, even though it had strong currents in parts.

It was nearly 11 when I started the walk proper and all day long, the gravel path was wide and good to walk in. The views switched between some good rain forests and a tons of dairy pasture. On the other side was the lake and every turn or so, I’d get a glimpse of Volcan Arenal. The sky was clearing a bit and it bode well for the walk and I could get good views of the volcano too. Such a beautiful place, this.

The trouble however was that I wasn’t informed of the few more rivers I had to cross. There were 4 more in total and I suspect they were running slightly higher than ankle high because of the rains. The eventuality was that on the first crossing, my boot was soaked and I had to walk with wet boot all thro the day. Each of the river would show up an hour apart and would soak my feet all the way thro, just when thy had dried up. Bummer. I figured, there was no point trying to take my shoes off as it was just a 5 hr walk overall for the day. I stopped for a bit of lunch and ate some pretty suspicious tasting bread. I figured with my experience at Xela with stale bread, it wasn’t a good idea to eat more and left the rest for the ants and birds.

Eventually around 4pm, I got to the Rio Chiquito, I expected it to be a fairly sizable village, but turned out that the village was a few k’s out of my way. A feller suggested that I could find another small village further down and I decided to stretch my day a few more k’s. The road was much smoother here and I could get some pace. Around his time, suddenly, the skies opened up and started blasting me with rain. Dang. Also, my blisters had started to pop and the pain in the feet was stinging. I had to get off my shoes and dry my feet soon. I stopped at the first house, which was a bar too (which was closed) and there was a guy who said the house owners should show up soon enough. I was tired and my foot was hurting and so I decided to stay there till they came back and try my luck to sleep there.

Around 7 ish, the family showed up and I felt like I was imposing on them too much, given I was at their door and they had to be really rude to turn me away. Though they were a bit reluctant to let me sleep there at first, eventually, they let me sleep behind the bar and even invited me for a dinner. Pretty nice of them. People are genuinely nice. Overall, a great day of walking, but I suppose, with the amount of rain on me and with my feet getting sore, I should probably end this walking tour quickly.

Track Notes

Route: El castillo to Rio Chiquito
Distance: 21.2 Km
Road: Wonderful Gravel road all the way. 5 river crossing - Though one has to worry only about Cano Negro, the rest are small streams.
Traffic: None. Apart from the occasional Horse
Services: None. Resupply before you start on this route.
Expenses: SG$ 3.08
Comments: I am so glad the rain stayed away.