Day Three: Rafting (Pt.1)
The day started by us waking up at 5:30 AM to get into a bus taking us to go white water rafting. The bus ride took about three long hours. After about two hours of our bus ride, we stopped to get breakfast at a place on the way up to our destination. The breakfast included eggs, toast, rice and beans, fruit, coffee and, to top it all off, pineapple juice.
Once the bus ride concluded, everyone hurried straight to the next transport: a trailer pulled by a massive tractor. The wall-less feature of the trailer allowed for a experience of all sorts of nature including sloths, snakes and giant leaves that spanned for what seemed to be miles and miles. We even saw a sloth, which is super rare!
After we had arrived and unloaded from the truck, three rafts formed: raft one which carried Quinn, Jude, Grace, Edge, Cooper, and river guide Roberto. Raft two included Courtney, Natalie, Dash, Maddie, Stella, Javier, and river guide Melanie. Last but not least: raft three which held Ellie, Amelia, Will, Rose, Henry, Rachel, and river guide Andreas. Melanie, Andreas, and Roberto, who had worked together on the river for more than twenty years, trained each of us to become expert paddlers in a mere matter of minutes. After all, we would need to pull our own weight for the intense rapids that would begin that day and not hold up until the end of trip.
Just as soon as Raft 3 pushed off from the rock, they saw their first glimpse of nature in its nature habitat; a fer-de-lance snake swimming across the river. Their guide was quick to educate about the species and the potential danger, and adjusted their course to keep them out of harms way.
We stopped about half way into the white water rafting trip and swam to a mini waterfall branching off from the main river, a much needed refresher in the middle of the day. When we had made it to our eco-lodge, we were quick to settle into our tents and make ourselves at home, thanks to the staff’s help. We soon ate lunch made by the rafting leaders, consisting of beans, rice, chicken, as well as other items to make a burrito with. On the side, we had chips and guacamole and washed everything down with iced tea.
Soon after, it started raining. Everyone was playing card games, fish bowl (a game Rachel and Cooper taught us), and hanging out under the patio to pass the time. Ellie, Courtney, and Stella went on a rain nature walk and saw three otters playing in the river. Later, they came back and talked with Javier, learning many Biology terms and humanity’s effect on nature.
Afterwards, we had dinner which was rice, chicken, and vegetables. We ended the night by saying our highlight and hero of the day, and headed to bed soon after to spend the night in our close-quarter tents.
Day Four: Rafting (Pt.2)
We woke up to rain, lots and lots of rain and the song of the most lovely birds you have ever heard. Starting at 5 in the morning we listened to their harmony. After waking up, we all went up to the bathroom to brush are teeth and eat breakfast. We ate a delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and fruit after breakfast it rained some more. When it stopped we all got geared up and headed out to the rafts to get ready for the rapids. Henry was the amazing leader of the day and acted as such. We were split into 3 boats like the day before. The Alpha team, otherwise known as Team 1, housed Edge, Cooper, Jude, Quinn, and Grace. Team 2, Nathalie, Courtney, Stella, Dash, Maddie, Javier. Team 3, Pineapple Team, Amelia, Ellie, Henry, Rachel, Will, Rose, and Rachel.
Right off the bat, we raced down the wild rapids fueled by the storm from yesterday, raising the speed and height of the water on the river a noticeable amount. We were surrounded by huge mountains covered in green trees and foliage. Stella was filming everything so we could remember everything. When we weren’t paddling, we would stare up into the trees in hopes of seeing an animal. After the first half of the day our guides stopped and pulled us over this sandy area on the side of the water. Rose brought a cicada back to life there. They then cut open fresh pineapples for us to munch on. Jude and Edge agreed that it was the best pineapple they have ever snacked on. Amelia tried pineapple for the first time!! ¡Muy delicioso! We got back on the boats for another hour or so, and we saw many cool thing and different animals, like toucans, bear throated tiger herons, a golden orb weaving spider, kingfisher, and morpho butterflies. Then, we walked to the whitewater “base camp” building our lunch. Chicken and rice was a big hit for lunch. Everyone changed into dry clothes before the 4 hour car ride back to the hotel we stayed at the first 2 nights. About 2 hours into the scenic car ride, we stopped to get snacks and use the bathroom. Fresh fruit such as mango and watermelon were sliced up for everyone to enjoy. Amelia tried her second new food of the day: watermelon! Everyone tried additional Costa Rican snacks that were shared on the bus; Pengüinos were a huge hit, similar to Hostess cupcakes. Rachel’s speaker blasted songs that everyone sang along too. Quinn knew all the words of almost every song played. Scholars Dash and Will continued on their summer reading process. Grace and Maddie made bracelets. Nathalie learned how to make the bracelets to from her amazing teacher Stella. Ellie and Edge played a game of slap boxing, where you hold hands and then slap each others hand with the other, and Edge was nearly in tears.