Cerro Chirripo

Total miles: 26
Total elevation gained: 7,600 feet
Time: 16 hours

My February 14th was spent on the highest peak in Costa Rica – Mount Chirripo – at 12,533 feet.

Maria and I left at midnight on Sunday, and made our way through the depths of the rainforest in the dark. With one headlight for the two of us, those 6 hours now seem like a dream. It was so peaceful. Only being able to see about 10 feet ahead kept us focused on the present, and not dread the upcoming ascents and switchbacks since for us, at that moment, they didnt exist. The rainforest is so quiet at night….much different than during the day when every particle seems to ooze with the sound of growing.

We reached the lodge where most people spend the night at 6 am, and from walked the high dessert plain-like terrain another 2 hours to the peak. Past 11,000 feet I went in and out of feeling like I was drugged – the lack of oxygen making my eyelids drop and my body seemingly move in slow motion. It was an interesting feeling while scrambling up the last cliffs. At the top we were surrounded clouds swirling around us, with tiny slivers of sunlight above or lakes below creeping through. It was sort of surreal, being among the clouds and knowing our little village was somewhere below. On clear days you are supposed to be able to see both oceans from the top.

One of Marias students was working at the lodge and gave us free coffee, which made all the difference in keeping us feeling alive for the way down. The 13 miles was filled with lots of mud and a light rain falling on the rainforest canopy of trees above us. And green. Everywhere.

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