Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Mountain

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity...” - John Muir Today I went to the mountain, to Arenal. I was awed at her beauty: her proud symmetric cone rising to an ever-changing swirl of gray and white cloud-hair, her verdant skirt of tropical forest alive with trees, flowers, insects, birds, and all of Gaia's splendor, the deep turquoise jewel of her Lake Arenal.
It was a spiritual homecoming; the mountain and forest filled my heart and my mind with peace. I awakened to the buzz of a hummingbird in the flowering tree just a few meters from my feet, and the day just got better from there. The grind of the ride to Arenal, a 24 km ride mostly uphill, was offset by purple blossoms along the road with hummingbirds flitting to them.
At the park, the trail varied in altitude, changing between dense rain forest, more arid mid-level forest, and the amazing hardscrabble colonizers of the recent lava flows. I alternated between taking scores of photos and just being.
I daydreamed as I shared a 20 meter high pile of windswept lava with a lone lilac orchid. I curled listening to breeze and birds and insects in the earthy embrace of the buttress roots of a 60 meter ceiba tree. I laid on my belly on the rain forest floor photographing leaf cutter ants.
As the late afternoon sun splashed on the mountain's flank it was time to ride home - but not without one parting gift from Arenal. At Tabicon hot spring I lounged in the churning hot mineral water and rejuvenated muscles tired from biking and hiking. (Hint: the well marked Tabicon hot spring resort charges US$60 for admittance to the same warm water which can be enjoyed for free by walking down the unmarked path to the north of the highway bridge!)

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