I left at 5 a.m. on the back of Randal’s motorcycle to go hike to the top of La Cangreja: a nearby mountain. Most people might be excited to be on the back of someone else’s bike, but not me! I’ve been riding bikes for many years now and would much rather be the driver instead of being dependent on someone else, especially when it is not custom in Costa Rica to wear a helmet. Randal’s passion for birds and local wildlife constantly caused him to look up to the sky to focus on birds instead of focusing on the road in front of him. However, after a while, I calmed down a little because I realized how unique and interesting of a situation I was in and that I could be doing something like working or be in school instead.
We arrived at a gate indicating the actual start of the hike, which was going to be 4 km (2.5 miles) uphill. One of the very first things I shared when arriving to the farm was my fear of snakes. I honestly didn’t know that Costa Rica was home to some of the deadliest snakes in the world or that I was going to a farm in the jungle where many snakes call home. Knowing my fear, Randal warned me in advance to not touch any branches and to be on alert for snakes. He takes people on this hike all the time and says he usually comes across at least one snake. But considering he is basically Tarzan I was able to suck it up and move foreword.
Randal was a great guide, even though he does not speak any English. It is difficult to explain, but Anneka and I were both able to understand him even though we both don’t understand much Spanish. It almost felt that the necessity to communicate in order to survive this hike is what drove us to understanding what we needed to, even though our Spanish, and Randal’s English was limited. Words that I’ve never heard before began to make sense somehow. I finally realized how people are capable of learning a foreign language by being completely immersed in a situation like mine. Similar to my body’s adaptation of vegetarianism at the farm, our minds are also very adaptable and flexible.
When we got back from the hike for lunch, there were about 20 Ticos that had arrived to stay the night. Even though it was nice to see people for a change, both Anneka and I recused ourselves. We had become accustomed to our way of life and the thought of spending a lot of time with people I could not communicate with after being alone for so long did not appeal to me. My fatigue from the hike took over, and I fell asleep.