November 10, 2013
Having not ever spent an entire night sleeping in a hammock, I didn’t get the best sleep. 5am came too early, however Manuel had delicious cups of coffee waiting for us. I couldn’t think of a better way to wake up.
Chandler and I were ready to go shortly after eating breakfast, so we headed off early with Basillo, a young boy in charge of the pack horse.
He basically ignored us until we encountered a red and black snake on the side of the trail. Basillo pointed it out, let us take a photo and then promptly whacked it with a stick until it was dead. Basillo didn’t speak any English but conveyed that the snake was poisonous and could bite us or the horse.
Once he realized that we were interested in everything around us and in him, he got much friendlier. Suddenly, he was making sure I knew where to walk so I wouldn’t slip or pointing out plants and naming them. We were impressed by the little guy. Not only was he hiking faster than us but he knew almost every plant and bird around.
The hiking was pretty easy going for the first few hours, it might have been because we were going downhill. We started up a decent hill, which was bad until it just kept going. It was so humid and hot that I started sweating as soon my shirt was soaking again. Things don’t dry out too well in the jungle. I didn’t fall too far behind, but another group caught up with me, then sort of enveloped us while we all took a break.
The other group had around 30 people in it, and was kind of annoying. They were mostly American and European kids in their early 20’s yelling up and down the trail. Some of them had portable speakers playing pop music. We had been enjoying the relative quiet and interesting quiet conversation when we stoped to rest, so we were anxious to put some distance between us and the mob. Luckily, we stopped at Manuel’s home while everyone else continued on to another camp up the trail.
We were introduced to Manuel’s family and had a huge dinner. We spent the night getting to know our hiking mates better. Stephen was a semi-retired computer programmer from California in his 70s and had some crazy stories about his world travels in the late 1960’s. Atli and ‘Ashrum patiently answered all of our questions about everything concerning Iceland. Basillo danced around us trying to get our attention with tickling and showing us some huge frogs.