The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – I had swum through a lagoon, struggled against the cascading pressure of the Earth’s most abundant compound, and pulled my body along the wall of a shallow cave to view the rainforest through streams of water. It was 7:30 a.m. and I was standing on a large rock behind the powerful rain of a waterfall, a more effective morning stimulus than Costa Rica’s famous coffee.

The four of us, a Canadian couple, Silvio, and I had begun our journey. A hike followed our morning dip. We learned of ant-filled trees, a flower whose petals wilt when touched and then revive themselves, and a leaf that is made to use Ben-gay, a cream that relieves muscle pain.

Soon we were traversing a sandy, pebbled river bottom, arriving at a rock shelf. Water poured over it explosively. Seated and leaning back, I received a vigorous massage. The pounding on my back and shoulders relaxed my body and the chill from the creek yielded to the pressure of Earth’s most abundant compound.

Weaving through dry trails and cool streams, we reached an area where our guide, Wil, proposed a challenge. “Use the tree branch in the water to pull yourself to where the waterfall builds a white foam, and then go under until you reach the bottom”, he said.

It seemed reasonably straightforward. So, I volunteered to make the first attempt. Immediately, my upper body strength exhibited its relative lack of existence, but I moved steadily, hand over hand, along the top of the branch. Fiercely treading the frothy water, I took a deep breath and submerged my head, pushing up forcefully with my arms in order to propel myself downward. Almost immediately, I popped back up. Again my lungs filled with air, and again I pushed up with my arms, a competitive spirit assisting in my battle against the Earth’s most abundant compound until the toe of my shoe came into contact with mud.

An eddy was a short hike above us, and above that was a cliff. We had reached the jumper waterfall. Hand over hand again, but using a knotted rope this time, I climbed a rock-face to a steppe flattened by centuries of autumn rains. Without hesitation, I pressed off the ledge and sank into a pile of bubbles. Adrenaline from my triumph over the previous challenge made the leap fun and refreshing. In succession, each person from the group launched off the ledge into a deep pool of the Earth’s most abundant compound.

The final climb brought us back to where we began, a lovely circle filled with flowers, and rocks, and trees, and sand, and air, and water. We walked back to the Jeep and were driven to a look out. Behind us was jungle and mountains, and ahead of us, towards the horizon, was the beach in Jaco, Costa Rica, and the Pacific Ocean. I had spent two days on that beach, in sand, and surf, and sun. It was nice to take a short break, sunburn shielded by the rainforest canopy, muscles alive, and me in complete awe of Earth’s most abundant compound, pouring over cliffs to create beautiful waterfalls.

Elizabeth Dickinson

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose, Costa Rica