Posts Tagged ‘Hiking’

Return to the Jungle

Author: Kristi

Finally off Utila and I could not be happier. Once I got to La Ceiba I caught up with Noemi who had left a day earlier. We had a great girls night in a hotel with pizza, beer and ice cream. She left early the next morning so I got in contact with Angel and he kidnapped me back to the jungle. Though I didn’t put up much of a fight! Angel took me on all the tours at Jungle River Lodge.

The first day we went canopying and had a hoot!! The next day was also incredible. We started by going white water rafting. Angel knew I have been rafting a few times and seeing how I wasn’t a paying customer I got to be the guinea pig for the raft guide he was training. When we came to a point in the river, Angel looked at me and said “if anything happens, swim to the left”. I yelled at him for saying that for now we were jinxed. Sure enough, next thing I know I was scrambling for air after the raft flipped. Not only did we flip but when I fell in, my bikini bottoms came undone! So now I am trying to keep my head above water, my bikini bottoms on and avoid any rocks. I have fallen out of a raft before but nothing like this. I was pretty scared. After we got to safety and finished our trip, Angel took me on hike to a waterfall. But he didn’t take me on the route the tourists take, oh no. He had me jumping off cliffs into the river, swimming through rapids, wading through water up to my waist, climbing slippery rocks and dodging army ants. It was definitely a real adventure. He was walking along catching toads and other various creatures. I was jealous so I caught him a lizard which he put on his hat and kept for the rest of the walk.
That night Angel and I were bored so we decided we’d split up and see who could catch the most geckos. I unfortunately lost, but I also didn’t grow up in the jungle catching them daily. He put one up to my cheek to make it “kiss” and the little bugger bit me! Then he made another bite my leg as well! I was not impressed!

On the third day we went canopying again and Angel insisted that I eat termites. He stuck his hand into the termites nest and grabbed a few. He held two in between his forefingers and put them into my mouth; they didn’t really move and freak me out as much as I thought they would. I just chewed them up as fast as I could and to my surprise they taste like carrots! After canopying I helped the boys out cleaning helmets, we took all of them apart and put them into bleach. We scrubbed them right down until they looked new again.
I woke up the following day and when I came downstairs I was shocked to see a familiar face!! Imran, a friend from Utila, had come to the jungle with some friends to do some rafting. After they finished that afternoon, we all hiked back to the waterfall. His friend, Rich was like a little kid once he got there. His smile was ear to ear and he was in awe of this feat of Mother Nature. We all jumped in and took a million pictures of ourselves playing in the falls.

Imran and Rich the next day decided I was going with them to Copan. I knew it was going to be hard leaving the jungle. The guys that work there had made me feel like family. As I was saying my goodbyes I was trying my hardest to keep it together. Though once I got to the jeep to take us back to the city I burst into tears. It was the hardest goodbye I’ve had to deal with since I’ve started this trip. The jungle was the first place that made me feel at home, and I had to leave that behind. I was lucky to have Rich and Imran with me to keep me together. I don’t think I could have done it alone.

Adventures of Utila

Author: Kristi

I’ve been so busy doing so many things I have not had time to blog. I’ve been working, eating sushi, playing in golf carts, frolicking in fresh water caves, dancing in the rain, cooking incredible meals, tanning around the pool, going on hikes, fighting off tarantulas, kayaking through the canal,  and swimming in the beautiful Caribbean ocean.  So much to do on such a small, yet gorgeous island of Honduras.
The other day a group of twelve of us rented golf carts and made our way to the caves. Once we got the caves I was having too much fun driving the golf cart to want to stop right away so one of the guys and I took off in the cart. We went exploring the dirt roads and took the golf cart on roads that were 4X4ing worthy! We were doing 180s, drifting the cart and going through huge puddles.
Once we got back we hopped into the caves to cool off then all of us jumped back into our carts and made our way to Pumpkin Hill. I was trying to do some fancy reverse work and almost killed the guy, Rusty, who was sitting on the back of my cart by backing into a barbed wire fence. Oops! So he then decided he should drive, because now he doesn’t trust me. But, once we got to Pumpkin Hill Rusty started going up a steep hill and hit a stump in the ground. Which because of the angle, made us start flipping backwards down the hill. Luckily the big guy, Big G, sitting on the back of the cart jumped out and started pushing the cart back down so we didn’t fully flip. If the cart had followed through and flipped, we would have tumbled into the third cart directly behind us and all of us would have been seriously injured. But, we all got out fine and we able to laugh about it afterwards.

Later that night while working at La Pirata Sports Bar, I was standing on the patio around 3:30AM just cleaning up a bit before close. All of a sudden, this local girl walked over to where I was standing, grabbed a bottle and smashed it on the ledge right in front of me scattering glass alll over my legs and in my flipflops. She then kept the neck of the broken bottle in her hand and went back to dancing.

I walked over to the other bartender to see if he saw the incident that had just occurred. Right when I was about to talk to him he ran over to the DJ and told him to cut the music. Once the music was cut you could hear two girls yelling at each other in the corner of the patio. Before I knew it a girl, surrounded by people, was walking towards me just covered in blood holing a heap of napkins to her bloody face. The other bartender had taken the girl with the broken bottle neck out of the bar and I was taking care of the girl with the slashed face. I’ve never seen so much blood. I had to clean the blood splatter which covered most of the patio, chairs and tables. The girl who got slashed was later taken to the local doctor, she will defiantly need stitches. I had a night off after that horrifying accident. I was very thankful.

My flatmates and myself decided it would be an ingenious idea to shave Big G’s chest. Our first thought was to do a happy face, but that seemed too average. Then, we thought “Well how about a Superman symbol?”. Once we pulled up the Superman symbol to copy from we had one more great idea. A Super G symbol for Big G’s first initial.  It was a night full of fun and laughter. The next morning while walking with Big G down the street people would stop and laugh or stop to take a picture. It was great fun.

Starting our Hike

Groggy with waking up at 6am on Saturday the breakfast was delicious, watermelon, strawberries, and bananas on banana pancakes, mmmm. A nice walk to the bus station on the other side of town, to take a 20 minute chicken bus to a small town where we would start our hike.

Unrepaired Fallen Wires

With introductions and setting the ground rules we were informed that one of our two guides forgot the money so one would have to head back to get it. With sunscreen applied and bags all loaded we headed for the hills.

Corn Drying on Roof Tops

It was a fast paced hike up the first hill and as I soon discovered whenever I had reached the last peak of the mountain, there was sure to be another much higher. With views of Tajumulco, Central America’s highest mountain, and various volcanoes around us we made our way peak after peak and ridge after ridge to our first break spot a field at 2900m. And on higher we went reaching about 3100m a couple times. Just before lunch my left knee started to hurt. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it to hurt. There wasn’t pain going up or going down, there were no sore spots, and no positions I could move it into where it hurt, just lifting it sometimes. I took some IBU Profen and grabbed a walking stick. Finally we reached Santa Catalina a small hurricane stricken town in the middle of the mountains. We set up our sleeping bags one of the rooms and a few of us headed out to the town bar. After a few beer and some chatting with some very colorful local people we headed back to our lodging.

Taking A Rest

By this time the local sauna was warmed up. Three at a time, we could enter the small garbage bag covered alcove. It was barely big enough to crouch in and there was a bench to the back. To the left when you entered there was a black metal bucket, and further to the left was a pile of rocks kept hot by a wood fire below. Closer to the bench was a red bucket with a smaller bowl inside, and a large green bucket under a tap. The idea was to take water from the tap and heat it in the black metal bucket then mix it again to a palatable temperature in the red bucket using the bowl, and then to pour this mixture over yourself to get clean. Also you could pour the cold water on the rocks to make steam. Our first attempt at this led us to the point of gasping for air as we crawled to the exit. Future attempts we much more pleasant and my knee was feeling quite a bit better. After about 20minutes each group had to head back and could then enjoy a pasta diner. I went straight to bed after dinner and despite the hard ground and uncomfortable makeshift clothing pillow, I kept my knee raised.

One of the many volcanos we saw along the way.

The next day at 6am, still sore from the previous day’s exertions, we headed to a small restaurant to have a rice, black beans and egg breakfast. It was quite good if you ask me. When we were all finished we got back on our way. My knee was a little sore from the previous day, but generally feeling fine. There is a part of the trek that they call Record Hill because they time everyone who goes up. It is a bit of a challenge and the fastest anyone has done it is 9minutes(or so they say) and they can do it in 12 minutes on a good day. The average was just around 20 minutes. I managed to do it in 26 minutes, and my knee was hurting again. Now, though, I had a better idea of what was causing it. Those tight narrow passes and twisting of the leg. It wasn’t until after lunch(more beens and rice anyone?) that we reached some streams where we were instructed to dawn our sandals and I dawned my Vibram 5 Finger Shoes. It felt good to be walking outside of the constrictive hiking boots. After a while though, I noticed that my knee wasn’t hurting anywhere near as much. Ultimately I decided to wear the Vibrams for the rest of the hike. I won’t give them full credit for my recovery though. Here is what I think was happening: I think that when I was walking on the narrow paths the hiking boots with full ankle support were preventing my ankle from absorbing any of the shock and instead passing it on to my poor knee. The Vibrams with no ankle support let my ankles do what they do best and absorb that shock allowing my knee to rest protected. Regardless I’ll keep this in mind next time I go hiking.

Me and my walking stick.

We ended up at Pedro’s House, his private residence and friend of the trekker group. We had a wonderful meal of more rice, beans, potatoes, vegetables, and chicken or spaghetti as well as fresh squeezed pineapple or strawberry juice. It was very yummy. Since we had to get up at 3am the next morning to catch the sunrise over Lake Atitlan we went to bed very shortly after dinner.

Sun Rise at El Mirador

At 3:30 we walked 15 minutes to El Mirador where we pulled up our mats and watched over the lake as shooting stars flashed though the night sky on a regular basis and the dark night broke into day. After breakfast we made our way up to the Indian Nose where you could see another view of the lake, San Juan, San Pedro and more. In San Juan we had lunch at a women’s shelter that is supported by our trekking group. Afterwards we were free to go. I collected my bags and headed to San Pedro to stay the night. Next stop, Mexico for Christmas.