Keith Stokes' Costa Rica Trip
January 12, 2008
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Lake Arenal with the Linda Vista del Norte swimming pool in foreground

sábado - day 4

During the night, I continued to check if the top of the mountain was clear each time I woke. When I checked at 5:20, it was clear so I set up my camera on a tripod and settled on the bench outside my room. 

The woman in the next room came out with a cup of coffee and said there had been lava about 10 minutes earlier. So I drank warm Coca Cola Lite, listened to the birds, and watched the hillsides wake up for the day. Guests came out of other rooms and filled most of the benches, but there was no activity on the volcano.

I had breakfast at the hotel restaurant when it opened at 7 AM. American, Continental or typical breakfasts were included with the stay. I had the típico desayunos (typical breakfast) of eggs, toast, gallo pinto (red beans & rice), fried plantain and bland white cheese. I rarely eat breakfast, but this was pretty good, much better than the dinner there two nights before. 

Better yet, it felt like I was in paradise as I sat by the picture windows with a panoramic view of Volcano Arenal to the right, Lake Arenal to the left, and the lush hillsides in the foreground. I had a nice conversation with the couple that had moved into room 11. They were from Minnesota.

View from Linda Vista del Norte Restaurant.

At 7:30, I drove out to the paved road. About half way there, I had to slow down for a huge white duck walking down the middle of the road like it owned it.

The van from Bike Arenal was already setting up the bikes by the roadside. There was a driver, guide (named Moses), and the couple from Arizona that had joined our tour to Cano Negro at the last minute the day before.

We rode mountain bikes with front suspension, starting right back down the road I had driven from the hotel. It didn't take long to tell that I wasn't in shape for the ride. The husband of the couple took off ahead of us. I kept pace with the wife, but I was working harder than her and had some trouble breathing. Still it was a beautiful morning and I was having a pretty good time until we passed the river and started west into more hills and rougher, muddy road.

Bike Arenal
The road is much worse than it looks in pictures.

When we arrived near my hotel, I knew I was going to be shot for the afternoon if I forced myself farther, swallowed my pride, and rode the chase van the rest of the way to the picnic location. The other three rode on about another kilometer, then came back to join us for pineapple, liquids and cookies, and a great view of the volcano across the water.

Arenal Volcano erupting during Bike Arenal tour.
Arenal Volcano erupting while we picnic on the shore of Arenal Lake

When we started back, I stayed in the van until the river, then biked the last stretch. I rode about 18 kilometers total.

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), Neotropic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) and Neotropic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) in the river.

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copyright 2008 by Keith Stokes.