Costa Rica Day 12 – tired of the beach, but the monkeys were cute

If you are a beach lover, you won’t understand this post.

img_20190403_1010575710792546088286007.jpgDon’t get me wrong. The beach here at the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio is beautiful. And I got in the turquoise waters for 10 minutes. The water is clear and clean, the sand white.  But one thing I’ve really realized  is that I don’t want to spend a long time at the beach, getting salty, sandy, and sun-tanned.

I guess I missed something when I was considering making this trip. I knew there would be time at the beach, but I thought it would all be spent doing something to help preserve the turtle habitat and conservation in general. I just didn’t get it that half of the days would include hours playing and “relaxing” on the beach.

I didn’t even bring a swimsuit, or “swimming costume” as my British cohorts call them. They all brought large suitcases containing clothes for every occasion, and I think most of them brought two, three, or more swimming outfits – the bikini, tankini,  swimsuit – not too mention a variety of beach footwear. But I didn’t see swimming gear on the list of must-haves and I didn’t see relaxing on the beach in the itinerary.

In my youth I would lie in the sun and work on my tan. A few years ago, after my second divorce, I spent a summer revisiting all that. But I have discovered that I absolutely don’t want to do that any more. It just isn’t my idea of enjoyment.


The highlight of my day was getting to take a walk alone along the paths in the park, surrounded by tall trees with the sound of the ocean in the distance, or, at one point, the sound of only the forest. I love walking in nature and it was just lovely. I would have stayed there longer but returned at the designated time to meetup with the others only to find that the general consensus was to stay on the beach longer. Sigh.

But I had purposed to go with the flow, not to try to manage things according to how I think they should be based on personal likes and dislikes or how I think life ought to work. I am working on letting things be what they are, not trying to control all my circumstances. I had time to ponder, and really, I am glad to have had this opportunity for this particular experience with these particular people. After all, I want to embrace the uncertainty of the day and let life unfold!

mvimg_20190403_095204167489922657660443.jpgI also got to have some interactions with white-faced, or capuchin, monkeys. When we entered the park, our bags were searched for contraband – anything that would be bad for monkeys to consume was not allowed. The only food one can bring in is fruit and sandwiches. One of my companions had her cigarettes confiscated. After spending time on the beach, we fully understood the reason for these rules. The monkeys, cute as they are, aggressively go after anything that looks or smells like food, and I witnessed one stealing a water bottle!

I had gotten a wrap at lunchtime, and put the paper it cameimg_20190403_1315076763165041934303690.jpg in back in my bag. The bag was close beside me, but when I turned my attention elsewhere for just a minute, a monkey snatched the paper right out of my bag!  Kind of cute, but several other times I had to shoo them away!

I am ready to be home. I have learned that although this has been an unforgettable experience, one I am glad to have had, I prefer traveling on my own terms either alone or with someone I know and get along with well.

After a shower, some air-conditioning, and a glass of wine, I felt so much happier. It’s interesting to watch my changing emotions in different situations, especially when I’m not happy about something but just let the situation resolve itself.  THAT is something to take home!

We went out to a restaurant with this lovely view:


One more day of this trip – the morning will be spent on a catamaran, the afternoon traveling back to San Jose. The next morning -home! I didn’t get to write as I journeyed as much as I’d hoped, due to the lack of reliable wifi at times. I plan to write about some of the highlights I left out, after I get home. It has been a life-changing experience!

Here’s me at the restaurant. It has been so humid that I gave up straightening my hair.

Pura Vida!



A Walk in the Wilderness

The last day of my vacation I experienced a tiny piece of Montana in a very big way. Marcia had planned the day hike for my last day, so I would have time to become accustomed to the altitude. I think I did pretty well, and at the end of the day was only limping a little!
It was an unseasonably hot morning, but  it felt great with the low humidity and the smell of the pines. As we walked the five miles into Twin Lakes, Marcia told me the names of some of the flowers growing along the path, and I noticed some elk tracks. We crossed a fast moving stream several times, the sound and sight of it bringing memories of Colorado camping as a child. I was pleased to find that in spite of living at sea level, I was having no problem at 7000+ feet!
Wild Strawberries
marsh marigolds
Shooting stars
elk track
We arrived at the lake around 1, happy to be able to take a break and eat our lunch of rice cakes, hummus, and apples. The mosquitos were very happy to see us, too! but we warded them off with the OFF wipes Marcia had packed. I was glad she was an experienced hiker and had was well prepared. We even had bear bells, and I was not unhappy that no bears seemed to be in the vicinity.
I stuck my feet in the lake as we ate, and we could see fish swimming in the clear water. It was so lovely and peaceful. Before returning to civilization, we sat and meditated for a little while. For just a moment, I felt oneness with even the flies that buzzed gently around my head.
We took the old trail back, which was not kept up and a little more challenging, but shorter before it joined with the new. Mosquitos swarmed, water rushed, then the wind picked up a bit as it became overcast. We were quieter as we walked downhill, and I was grateful for the walking stick as weariness began to set in. We saw no creatures except for a mother grouse who kept a careful eye on us as we passed.
For about the last two miles I focused on my feet, mindfully aware of each step, grateful for my two legs, and thankful for the cool fresh air. I turned around for my last view of the beautiful mountains, and we could see the rain coming down.
I was very happy to see the jeep and set my body down! We were out on the main road before the rain came. It was a wonderful day.