Oh The Things We Will Do & See

We (read Sue) did quite a bit of planning for Costa Rica this weekend.  Usually we try and organize quite a bit of our excursions before we go, or at least we sketch out what we are doing.  For this trip, we decided to plan what we wanted to do but then pretty much try and book on the day or the day before.

The first few days we are staying near the Manuel Antonio National Park. While there we will certainly go white water rafting on the  Upper Naranjo river.   We found a company call Pro Rafting Costa Rica and plan to book through them.  Some other things we are thinking about doing are:

Nighttime walking or boating tour in the National Park. The nice thing about the walking tour is we will be right in the ju03ngle, so close up to what ever we find. On the other hand…we will be close up to what ever we find!  The boat tour sounds more leisurely, but that isn’t usually our style.  Either way, it should be fun–in the jungle, at night.

Mangrove kayaking. There are lots of mangrove swamps and kayaking through them looks like it will give us a daytime view of the jungle at a safe distance from the land-based wildlife.  Sue tells me that the alligators don’t usually eat people as long as they stay in their kayaks. Hmmm: Could she be planning something?  One of the tour operators offers this at night, too.S o alone in a swamp, that is in a jungle, in a foreign country, where we don’t speak the language (Hey, I have been doing Duolingo for 64 days and can say useful things like: Do you work in a factory?) and separated from man- human- (?–yes, human, unless you think they are trained to eat only men) eating animals by a few millimeters of plastic. Sounds perfect.

Ocean kayaking/snorkeling. This tour takes us out into the ocean to kayak and then do some snorkeling.

Segway tour. Segway tour?  Really, going all the way to Costa Rica to ride a Segway?  Well, there is some history to this one.  Before started our blog, we traveled to Morocco (BTW: fabulous trip, fabulous place, a really great vacation for anyone with a small amount of adventurous spirit). For my birthday, Sue organized a Segway tour of Marrakech.  Unfortunately, the tour guide no-showed on us.  Needless to say, it is all Sue’s fault and she owes me a Segway tour.  Maybe we will do it in Costa Rica.

cano-island-costa-rica-scuba-300x216Scuba Diving.This is a long shot.  Sue didn’t really love diving when we did it in Hawaii, but perhaps she will give it another try.  (I said I would. I was just cold and seasick from the boat fumes.) One of the downsides to it is that there is a 10-mile boat ride to the island and she gets seasick (a very terrible feeling) so we will see.

Hiking.We will be going hiking, in the park, near the park, and anywhere else we can find.

Enough for today.  We will write about the things we will do near the Arenal Volcano for our next post.

A Whole Raft of Experiences

Our campsite

We just finished our two-day whitewater rafting trip down the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon into Lake Powell. We planned this months ago, but the timing was perfect. We needed a break from all the hiking in the heat and two days on the water was perfect. Cataract Canyon is part of Canyonlands National Park and as you can imagine, it has steep red rock walls that rise from the river.

We arrived at 7:30am on Monday at Western River Expeditions in Moab and met the four other people on our tour.   There was one young couple, Zach and Megan, and one father and son pair, Gary (dad) & Cory (24 years old).  Our tour was supposed to be on a 26-foot motorized raft.  Due to the very low water levels, it was changed to be a fast run down the top (quiet) part of the river on a motor boat and then on to an 8-person self-paddled raft for the rapids and remainder of the trip.  We loaded ourselves onto the motor boat for a 2-hour run to the point where we met our guides, Daniel (on our boat), Nick & Anna who rowed the supplies down on inflatable rafts.

Helmets and PFDs (personal floatation devices), formerly known as life jackets.

Words can’t really describe the landscape, the quiet, or the sheer blast of running 32 rapids, a couple of which were classified as Category 5. We ran them all our first day. I have to give props to Western River and our guides–they were cheerful and clearly knewimg_20180626_090705089 what they were doing. We never once felt unsafe. Bonus was the food, which was surprisingly good for camp food. They even cooked steak for dinner on Monday night. We camped under a bright moon on a sand bar that won’t exist when the water rises. Sleeping was a challenge for everyone but Sue, who can sleep standing up on a cliff face when she’s tired.

Tuesday was a lazy day. Since we were finished with the rapids, we tied onto one of the supply rafts and motored at a leisurely pace to the put out point. I was happy to sit and enjoy the scenery and the company. We were a little sad to say goodbye to our guides, but ready for the 2.75-hour van ride back to Moab. Being on the water for two days in the sun is tiring for us old folks. We promised to exchange GoPro footage (which we will post once we edit) with everyone and went our separate ways back at Moab.

Our separate way was to a beautiful inn called Red Moon Lodge. They have their own water source, so there is a pond to hang out around once it cools off. Plus, there are real flowers. It is odd to see something in nature that is not red, brown, or tan after all this desert.

Finally, we headed to Moab Brewery for dinner, where we met up with none other than Daniel and Nick, two of our guides. We were happy to have another chance to tell them what a spectacular trip it was!

A whole raft of thoughts

While Sue is heads-down planning her trip to London, I have turned my eye to the whitewater rafting portion of our trip to the Southwest.

Who knew that doing an overnight whitewater rafting trip would require a 13-page preparatory document?  I’ve seen articles in Scientific American less detailed than this.  The only thing that seems to be missing is a schedule:

Wake at 07:30

Brush teeth 07:32 (3 minutes)

Wash face 07:35 (2 minutes – 30 second to dry face)


Anyway, me being me, I read the entire thing. (Steven is very bored at work these days.)  The section on what to bring was fascinating…

Not surprisingly, they recommend a safety strap for your sunglasses, quick drying shirts & pants, sunscreen & a hat (with a string or hat clip).  One thing on the list caught my eye….”Gloves for protection while gripping holds on the boat”…hmm…I hadn’t thought that one through…I guess I will need to hold onto the boat.  Now, they do have a recommended outfitter, so I could get them there…but what fun would that be?   Off to the Googles I go!

7052_2_grandeAfter a bit of poking around, I found that there is an entire class of gloves made for sailing which have padded palms, are quick drying, and come in full-or half-finger.  As you would expect from the interwebs, there isn’t a single source of truth nor agreement on the best gloves. However, I seem to have found the Gill Deckhand gloves on a few lists and so that is what we are going with.  Full-finger gloves (which by the way don’t have a full finger on the index finger so you can play with your cellphone while trundling down the river) because I figure we can always cut them down to half finger if they are too warm, but can’t make the half finger ones longer if they are too cold. (This man is so smart.)  Here is a link to Sailingworld.com’s review of them.

Into the Amazon basket they go…along with waterproof covers for our cellphones, safety straps for our sunglasses, a small flashlight (I know I have one….but where the hell did I put it???).

One more item caught my eye…”Major credit card and photo ID in case of evacuation”…well that’s a bit worrying isn’t it?

Finally, a few other words of whitewater rafting wisdom:

“Weather is always present on a river trip.”

“A smile is a curve that sets a lot of things straight.”

Should be good fun.