Hiking at Arenal Volcano (Julia Kocubinski)
This morning, we woke up and had breakfast in the main lodge, and set out with Justo, our guide, and Jonathan, his assistant. We walked along the Bananito River, crossing it repeatedly, sometimes just walking right through the river. We stopped after a bit to swim and drink some fresh juice, and then continued up the river. After a couple hours of hiking, we took a trail straight up the steep hill and away from the river to learn a bit about the preserve. We then hiked back to the river and ended up at the waterfall that we were going to rappel down. Justo said that the water was a bit high, but since we were young and strong, we could do it. Shawn has climbed a lot, but this was my first experience rappelling, and I was a bit nervous! I went first, and other than a little slip in the middle, I made it down. The rappelling was incredible! I couldn't believe that I had made it down. Shawn came down with no problems, and Jonathan was waiting for us at the bottom with a hot lunch. After we ate, we continued to hike back down the river. We were surrounded by waterfalls, and we even got a second chance to rappel. This time we didn't have to deal with the waterfall, and I did quite a lot better my second time. We got back around three this afternoon, and it started raining, so we just relaxed and read in the hammocks. Two other couples arrived that afternoon, and we had a very nice evening with them. They were excited to do the waterfall hike and rappel the next day. We planned to climb the 100-foot tree with Justo the next morning before he took them out for the day. It was fun to sit and have dinner with all of them, to hear about their travels and experiences both in Costa Rica and other parts of the world. That night, we decided to sleep with all the windows and the porch door open. We had a bat in our room, and we could hear others squeaking in the roof, but luckily, we were tired enough from our day to sleep anyway.
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