a walk in the clouds

Monteverde, home of the Cloud Forest, is unsurprisingly pretty full to the brim with beautiful parks, forests, jungles and with that, a ton of extremo adventure opportunities. There is actually a tour company in town called ‘Extremo Adventures’. For serious.

Rich, his appetite whet for some extremo adrenalin, decided to go zip-lining through the jungle. You know what that is, don’t you? It’s where you climb up a tower, wear an incredibly attractive underpant-like harness that emphasises your nether-regions (and not in a good way), get clipped onto a cord, and zip through the trees on a cable at ridonkulously high speeds.

Now, since being away, I have been trying to face my fears and say yes to more opportunities that are presented to me. Unfortunately, no amount of cajoling was going to get me to say yes to a zip-line adventure with Rich.

“But I’ll come with you to the park, and afterwards we can go for a nice walk through the trees on the canopy bridge”, I said. What a wimpburger….

While brave Rich went off up the mountain on the sky tram for 45 minutes of extremo cable zipping, I sat on a cloud-enshrouded balcony with a coffee and my book. Extremo relaxo…

After a couple of chapters, the chico from reception came up and said “Your husband, in about 20 minutes, he’s gonna come down on that cable there” and pointed to the closest cable to the balcony. Which was about 50 metres off the ground in the cloud-filled air. And which made my heart skip a beat and loudly declare “Holy bajoly, I am SO scared of heights I am SO GLAD I am here and not there!!!!” rather embarrassingly. He laughed a bit and said “Well, he’s gonna fly by here in about 20 minutes”.

Sure enough, 20 minutes later, there came Rich out of the clouds, zipping along, holding on for dear life. I screamed a little bit. On the inside.

Moments later, in came Rich, covered in grease and rain and bits of cloud. He headed straight to the bar and ordered a beer and a packet of chips, and sat in silence on the balcony, slowly coming down from his ultra-adrenalin rush, while I tugged at his arm and asked annoying questions like ‘How was it? Are you OK? I saw you on that one (pointing). How was the adrenalin factor? OMG are you OK?’. After several minutes he looked at me, grease on forehead, and said “You would have hated it” and continued to calmly sip his beer.

I felt better. I had felt like a sissy – saying no to a new adventure – but I knew that I would have had a majeur de freakout and apparently, once you’ve gone down the first line the only way to get back to base is to do ALL ten lines. Yeeks!!

After the beer had been imbibed and the chips munched, we were ready for our guided bridge walk. A relaxing stroll through the jungle on a series of suspended walkways in the treetops. What a nice way to end the afternoon.

NOT! Holy crap!! It wasn’t until we were on the second bridge (the longest bridge – around 300 metres – but not the highest. This one was probably around 40 metres off the ground…), with the rain a-falling and the bridge a-swaying and the guide a-talking, about ecosystems and parasites and ferns and how tall the trees are, that I suddenly gasped and Rich put his hands on my shoulders and I said “Oh dear” (no really) and Tony, our guide, asked if I was OK and, as I told the dude earlier, declared “I’m actually really scared of heights” while clutching madly to the slippery rails on either side of me.

It was incredibly beautiful standing on the swaying bridge – don’t get me wrong – but when we were out there, all I could think of was slipping over on the walkway and somehow rolling through the gap between the platform and the railing. Seemingly impossible, but when we were out there, I felt quite sure that I would be the first person to accomplish this feat.

Fortunately, as Rich and I were the only people on the tour, and as our guide was a sympathetic fellow, we spent minimal time on the bridges and maximum time on solid ground in the jungle and I was feeling much less sissy-pants in no time. Every so often we’d stop on a bridge and Tony would point out a bird and do some nifty whistling and I would say ‘Ahh si, un bird’ while hanging onto the railing, white-knuckled.

In between showing us ferns and orchids and bazillion-year-old trees, Tony talked to us about soccer (namely Carlos Hernandez, a Costa Rican midfielder who now plays for Melbourne Victory) and about all the guides in CR who have met North American ladies on their tours, and have subsequently married them and moved to Canada or the States.

Unfortunately it was a bit too rainy for any sloths or monkeys to make themselves known, but in between all the treetop terror, we saw some amazing sights and, well, there’s something pretty special about being in the clouds above the trees. And the glass of fruit punch and ‘SKY’ biscuit when we returned, wobbly-legged, to base was pretty flippin’ delicious…



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