Wednesday, Feb 4 2004 -- Lake Arenal

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Wednesday morning and it was time for our Canopy Tour. We met at the hotel office and were issued harnesses, gloves, and hardhats. Then we trooped off to the top of the hill where the Canopy Tour starts. After a lecture by one of the three guides/handlers on how to do the "tour", we climbed up a flight of stairs to a wooden platform built 20 feet up in a tree. But the tree was on the top of a hill, and the other side of the hill dropped waaaay off, about 1000 feet, to the riverbed below.

Kate was first, and I was happy to see her reach the next tree -- that meant that I'd probably live through it too. We were each, in turn, clipped onto a pulley that rode on a wire rope stretched between two trees, and then we just stepped off the platform and rode the wire down do the next tree/platform.

In total, there were about 8 wires to ride, for a total vertical drop of (we were told) about 750 feet. Personally, I was going too fast and was too scared to do much sight seeing, but the ride certainly was exciting.

Once we got to the bottom, we walked partway back up the hill until we were met by the tractor pulling a wagon that we would ride back to the hotel. The wagon ride was even scarier than the canopy tour, since the wagon had no suspension and the road was really rough -- it was all we could do to not get pitched out of the wagon.

Once back, and recovered from all that, we decided to ride to a place called Toad Hall, partway around the road that partially encircles Lake Arenal. Kate and I decided to go two up, and off we went with G and J on their bikes.

Not two miles from the hotel, the front tire on my bike went flat. I was able to keep control and stopped without event. Kate hopped off and hitched a ride back with G and J, and I limped the Pegaso back to the hotel. We removed the wheel from the Pegaso and I had the hotel maintenence guy take the wheel into town to get the tube patched. Meanwhile, we rode out on the remaining three bikes to lunch at Toad Hall, which was very good, even if the food was more "Philadelphia" than "Costa Rica".

We rode back to the hotel. At one point on the way back we came upon a couple of cars stopped in the road. It turns out there was a small animal at the side of the road, to which somebody had given some crackers. We snapped a couple of piccies and continued back to the hotel. Then, while G and J rode to a waterfall, Kate and I stayed behind -- I, to handle some problems at work; Kate, to read. G and J met Mark and Joanne from California; Mark is a motorcyclist and has some vintage bikes so he got on famously with G and J.

We had dinner at the hotel restaurant and retired early.

We four getting instructions for the Canopy Tour at Hotel Arenal Paraiso
G slides in. Excellent form.
No anxiety from Kate when you're only a foot off the ground.
Bill hamming it up
a rather nonchalant guide.
guide Pilo
guide Cesar
the official photographer.
mini-hoodoos. those are pebbles on the tops of the pillars of mud.
burial mound left behind by the original inhabitants.
we seem to have survived our Canopy Tour.
little did we know that the scariest part was the ride back in the wagon behind a tractor.
Bill's Pegaso resting while it's front wheel is out getting a flat repaired. Eventually cost me 600 colones (under $1.50).
B enjoying his fruit smoothie at Toad Hall -- lunch Wednesday
B and K on the porch at Toad Hall
mammal having a cracker by the road side.
wooden Easter Island figure in La Fortuna
wooden sculpture in La Fortuna
wooden Easter Island figure in La Fortuna
wooden sculptures in La Fortuna
towel art, Hotel Arenal Paraiso
towel art, Hotel Arenal Paraiso