December 30, 2009

Jen, Bringin' the Heat

A few pics from Jen's first bike event. She kicked some serious Tico ass!!....and in true Sanders form, slammed a few beers afterwards.

It was a really hot day
some sort of creepy tin foil nativity scene
Jen hammered the river section leaving the others in her spray

....and yet another one of the Posse preparing for the Anticarmageddon

The Way We Roll Here in Costa Rica

December 23, 2009


One of the unforeseen consequences of being part of an unemployed couple sharing a tiny house in the mountains of Costa Rica......some days you just wake up, drink a cup of (awesome) coffee and then just stare at one another. Well last week, Jen had enough of that crap and was like "get outta my face midget" and I was like "uh, ok". A five day trip down to the southern part of CR to climb Cerro Chirripo would be the ticket. I loaded up to Tay-oter (all 300,000 miles of her) with my pack, sleeping bag, 8 tortillas and a hunk of salty cheese and was off. The trip was no problem for the truck and after 7 hours rolled into San Isidro sketch-ville (apparently, they steal your shoes there), still about two hours from the base of the mountain. Went and bought some food for the hike and knew this was not a place to be hanging around after dark as they had an armed guard in the Musmanni Bakery guarding that fucking precious day-old pan dulce.

The next day I headed up to tiny town of San Gerardo at the base of Chirripo. Checked into the dorm at Casa Mariposa and then headed out for an "acclimatization" hike at the nearby Cloudbridge Forest Preserve. My kind of place because 1) there's nobody there, 2) tons of birds, water and other cool shit and 3) entry by donation (or don't pay as you leave if you think it was lame). Very cool place and likewise for the town of San Geradro where you can only buy beers at the "Cafe Dura Roca" - Hard Rock Cafe, that is thankfully not part of the chain.

The next day I head out on the long, long, long slog up the mountain starting out at 4,500' to the mountain refuge at about 11,000 feet. Starts out in mid-elevation rainforest, transects cloud forest and ends up in the very dry "paramo", above tree line. On the way, again tons of birds, a pack of very big pecaries and a troop of Chapuchin monkeys. It's a hot climb almost all the way with a maddening buzzing of bugs around my face. Did not see a single snake even though everybody I talked to coming down said "watch out for the snakes".

Made it to the refuge in 7 hours or so - which, I must say, was a very miserable place to stay. They do not allow camping on the mountain, so I had no choice. The place is like a prison block with echo-y voices, clanking chains, slamming metal doors and it's COLD and damp. Ya, it's like how I imagine a prison.....a bad prison. Sharing my dorm room in the refuge sucked as well. I was there with an annoying German couple who were obsessed with speed climbing or some shit - bragging about how fast they climbed, blah blah blah......who gives a shit.....(had I known it was a race I probably would smoked both of your stupid asses).
The German chick had the nastiest smelling feet ever and the guy snored like a fucking freight train so I laid there all night in a stinky foot haze (I swear it glowed in the dark) while Freight Train probably dreamt of naked chicks covered in sergunschnitzel. Thankfully they were so gung-ho to get to the summit at sunrise, they left at 2:00 am - allowing me a couple of hours of peace.

I set out at 4:00 am, still pitch black I immediately ended up on the wrong trail "Sendero de los Leones" (the Lion Trail) - not a place I wanted to be at night and in an area known for lots of Pumas. When the sun came I saw, what I assumed to be, puma shit all over the place. great.
I finally met the German Freight Train and his chick on their way down just below the summit and was glad to hear they miscalculated the summit climb and had waited almost 2 hours in the freezing cold and dark for the sun to come up.

From the refuge to the summit is by far the coolest part of the hike, just because you are way above the clouds and (usually) there great views to both the Pacific Ocean and the Carri bean. The day I was up there, the only ocean I saw was an ocean of clouds about 3,000 feet below me - still, very cool though. It's "coldish" up at this elevation, but not as bad as some idiots made it seem. I mean, there was frost on some of the plants and I'm guessing it was in the low 40's. You should have seen some of the people though - full North Face down mountain suits, gloves, stupid hats......totally out of control. I'm thinking "dude, are you for real!" Really, a fleece jacket is plenty!

At 12,500 feet this is not a big mountain - even though it's the tallest in Costa Rica and the tallest between Guatemala and Colombia. The difficulty (just because of the 8'000 elevation gain) is maybe equivalent to doing back-to-back fourteeners in Colorado

December 01, 2009

Critcal Mash

December Random 10

Brian Eno - Err
Mogwai - Auto Rock
The Prids - Let it Go
Richard Hawley - Serious
Los Panchos - Algo Contigo
Pixies - Dig for Fire
Josef K - Fun n' Frenzy
The Avett Brothers - Hand me down Tune
The Go! Team - The Ice Storm
Lora Logic - Rather than Repeat