Sunday, June 03, 2012

Costa Rica Adventure: Erick the Guide.

We were on the fence about getting a hiking guide. We consider ourselves proficient hikers, but we decided to get a guide for our hike through Corcovado - in case we needed someone to fight off a puma or wrestle a crocodile.

We hired a local legend named Erick, a huge guy that booted a puma in the face a few months ago to save his four-year-old son.

He was amazing. He knew the name of every organism we came across - in Latin, English, and Spanish. He was born and raised in Carate and knew everybody in town.

Every time we passed another person, he would launch into a conversation in hurried Spanish for 30 seconds, then give us a translation like, "He said the fish that guy caught last night was a 16-pound snook" (town gossip travels by mouth here - no facebook around for status updates) or "He panned $400 worth of gold from the river a few days ago."

For our Corcovado hike, we started by walking down the beach to the ranger station. We paid our park fee and entered the trail there.
 Within a few minutes, we came across a family of spider monkeys who climbed low in the trees to eat bananas.

They took quick messy bites and inevitably dropped most of what they were eating on the trail in front of us.

They soon took turns climbing down the tree, snatching their dropped banana pieces, and scampering back up to finish consuming them.
 We watched them for a long time, and they watched us just as curiously.
 They reminded me of my kids in some ways... this little guy, who is snuggling his mommy just like Bruce likes to snuggle on me.

Sometimes Erick would stop in his tracks and announce that he heard or saw something. Once he even smelled something. "I smell an anteater," he said after such a stop. "They have a very distinct smell." He gazed into the treetops for a few minutes and found one!

 He was very excited because they are typically nocturnal, but this anteater was lumbering along a tree branch sucking bugs off with his vacuum-like snout.

After the anteater sighting, we hiked along to a shipwreck on the beach. Local legend says it was a Columbian ship carrying textiles that wrecked and was abandoned by the captain.
After our awesome hike through Corcovado, Erick took us on a hike that night to look for snakes and creepy things, and kayaking the next day to look for crocodiles. Coming up next...

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