February 18, 2008
Corcovado National Park Trek Day 2
Richard and I left camp as soon as it was light enough to see. We were heading northbound, away from the ocean, and as the sound of the waves faded away, the rain forest came alive. Howler monkeys were making their horrible dinosaur-like roars all around us and a few white-faced and spider monkeys jumped around the trees near us to let us know they were there. Then the sighting of the day happened when a tapir crossed the path about ten meters in front of us. Being a shy creature, it only looked at us for a second before running into the forest and remaining hidden. This all happened withing the first thirty minutes of walking.
In the middle of the day, a group of fourteen gap year kids, mainly from Britain, passed us in the other direction. They talked to Richard in strange dialects of their hometowns ending in names like "hampton" "-shire," and "-ford," and were about to sit down for a cup of tea, but I reminded Richard that we were, in fact, walking through the jungle and not the English country side, and we moved on. Soon thereafter, we passed a young, fully-clothed guy walking with his parents who were wearing nothing but sandals and skimpy European bathing suits. The mosquitoes and sand flies must have had a field day with them, biting them in legendary places of bug lore.
The jungle was thicker and seemed more authentic by midday, and we stopped for lots of breaks near some of the dozens of river crossings on the path to listen to the multitude of sounds of the wildlife. The howler monkeys especially never seemed to leave our sides, and there were also lots of macaws , smaller parrots, and woodpeckers to keep us company. After hearing the horror stories yesterday of how difficult today's walk was going to be, I was surprised to arrive at the Los Patos ranger station after only six hours, including abundant breaks. Then I remembered that the people who had warned us had been in their offices in Boston only a few days earlier.
Today's camp was much more tranquil as we were joined by only four others and had a large grassy area in which to put our tents. Yesterday's ranger was in a state of perpetual anger from having to deal with too many campers, but today's ranger was going crazy with boredom as he ran around the camp with his arms flailing out at his sides while obnoxiously singing Spanish love songs. The rest of us exchanged a few stories of our other travels and enjoyed an early bedtime in the peaceful night.