Leaves as big as bikes
Just above our place there is a place called El Mirador (the lookout point). It is located on top of the continental divide and when you’re up there you can look down onto the Carribean Slope and there is (sometimes) a great view of Arenal Volcano. Arenal is currently very active and, when it’s clear, you can usually see it erupting and spewing all kinds of crazy pyroclastics (ya, I’m a geologist so I can use words like that!). In the day time it’s usually just a big plume of ash that is visible, but at night you can actually see house-sized glowing hunks of magma being shot into the air and then smashing into a million pieces as it it’s the flanks – pretty damn cool. Anyway, a ride to El Mirador is a pretty good one if you like the steep stuff. A lot of this ride is along tracks that follow the crest of the “divide” so sometimes the wind is howling and other times you are getting slammed by clouds rolling up the slope. It’s about 30 minutes from the house to the divide through coffee and banana farms on a few double track sized roads - unfortunately there is never a whole lot of time to soak in the scenery since there is usually this very loud distracting sound of your heavy breathing and the pounding of squishy sound blood pumping in your ear drums. The other day I decided to check out El Mirador to see what was spewing. I do the long climb and get there…….dammit! clouds!.....can’t see shit. OK, well good thing there is another “Mirador” just a few KM’s down the road near the Santa Elena Reserve (National Park) so I head there and again, frickin clouds! Bastards! – turn of the damn cloud machines already this ain’t no frickin’ Great White concert. After waiting 15 minutes or so and getting a few glimpses of the flanks of the volcano, I bail back home – fast-as-hell downhill all the way. The route for this one was Los Tornos-Las Nubes-Los Olivios (Mirador #1) - Santa Elena Reserve (Mirador #2) – Santa Elena – Los Tornos. Probably a 15 mile loop that is pretty much an ass-kicker. Bring a few Colones if you want to stop in SE or Las Pavas Bar for a beer and a boca.While cranking up this hill I look to my right and notice somebody has displayed a page out of "La Teja" (the Costa Rican version of the National Enquirer). Hmmmm, interesting.