After hearing what Jonathan had written in his journal about one of our recent adventures, we decided just to post what he’d written. Because of the rain and mud, we weren't able to take very many pictures, but I'm posting the few we have.
October 30 –
“Today we got up at 4:30 am to climb the tallest mountain in this area. We had heard lots of stories of how hard and dangerous the climb is, but we weren’t sure how much of it was true. We met at the trail hear at 5:30 am and had a prayer before we headed out. There were eight people total: Roger, Rene, Rene’s sister Denora, Kirsten, Joshua Zach, Luke and myself.
After about an hour of hiking, we stopped to rest at a split in the trail. Roger and Rene went the other way in search of water. After about 15 min the returned with our bottles full of fresh mountain stream water, plus shirts and pockets busting full of mandarins! After the much needed snack, we headed farther up the mountain.
|One of the many huge trees we saw|
We had probably hiked for another hour when Roger found an amazing vine swing. We cut the vine and cleared some brush and had a blast swinging out over the mountain!
|Joshua and Roger on the vine swing|
We were soon back on the trail, except this time there wasn’t much of a trail. We had three people leading with machetes and the rest followed in single file. As we were clearing our way through the overgrown brush, Kirsten rubbed up against a stinging caterpillar. Almost instantly there were red spots and her leg started to go numb where she had been stung. Luke jokingly said it was showing all the early signs of death! Ha, ha… it turned out not to be too bad, and the spots were gone within a few hours.
|The "deadly" caterpiller|
As we continued up the mountain we came across a sweet lemon tree; now sweet lemons aren’t the tastiest thing, but we were all starting to get hungry, so we each ate a couple.
We soon broke into a clearing that appeared to be an abandoned farm. There were banana trees and lots of coffee plants. We started looking around for some ripe bananas but didn’t find any. Then Joshua found a large pile of fresh, yellow, banana skins. We were pretty bummed!
|A snail we found along the way|
After passing through this clearing, we were definitely trail blazing. As we climber the jungle got thicker and the mountain steeper. And at the point it started to rain. We weren’t too disappointed, because we were very hot, but it quickly began to get very muddy, which made the climbing more difficult.
As we pushed on up the mountain we were careful for mark the trees we passed. Last time they climbed this mountain they couldn’t find their trail back down. They got last, and didn’t make it home until well after dark.
We once came to a place that was so steep and slippery that we had to use a rope to get up. After five hours of climbing we still hadn’t seen the top. By now, we were all getting very hungry, so we brought out our lunch and split a few tortillas between us, and each had an orange.
After a short rest we continued. Luke and I led the way up the steep and rugged terrain. We knew we had to be getting close to the top, but because it was cloudy and drizzling, we couldn’t see through the dense jungle.
But after six hours of climbing we reached what seemed to be the top. We hacked our way out to a little out crop, and settled down to eat. Roger had gone off into the woods, we though to use the bano. But as we were getting out our lunch, we heard him call from what sounded like a mile away, “venga!” We reluctantly packed our lunch back up and headed in the direction of his voice. After a few minutes of trail blazing we came to where he was; standing on top of a large rock. The boulder was propped on, what appeared to be, the peak of the mountain, and we all climbed up onto it. We could tell that it would be an amazing view, but all we could see was the thick white fog.
|Huddled at the top. You can see that below us, all was white.|
After we were settled, we brought out the long awaited for lunch. We had home made tortillas with potatoes, rice, and lots of avocado! We failed to bring any silverware, or plates, so everything was cut and served with our machetes.
It was raining and cold, so we didn’t stay long at the top. The decent was challenging because it was so muddy. In many places we just slid on our bottoms.
When we got to the abandoned farm Luke and I decided to cut one of the banana stocks and carry it home. We found the biggest one and tied it to a pole. It was very heavy and after a couple hours, we were about ready to ditch it, but we endured to the end.
Finally, ten hours after leaving home, we arrived back. (to the great relief of Mom and Dad) We realized that all the stories we had heard about this mountain climb were true, plus some!”
The conquerors! (unfortunately Roger, Rene & Denora had already gone home, so weren't able to be in the picture.)