Sunday, February 08, 2009

Caminata a La Cruz de Alajuelita

Rigo is one of my favorite ticos. He is a taxi driver and more. He has a great relationship with Habitat and works tirelessly to uphold his great reputation. He has definitley earned my trust, and I am convinced that he knows everything about Costa Rica. He took me to the airport last Thursday to pick up Ernesto and he told us about an organized hike on Sunday. Caminata a la Cruz de Alajuelita. ie: The Cross. This cross can be viewed atop of a mountain from all over San Jose. You can barely see it here right at the tippy top of the mountain. We had been planning to climb it, but wanted to get a bigger group to go. It is known for robbers/muggers on the trail. Plus there is not much infor publisized in travel books or on the web about where it starts, how long it takes, etc.
Kate picked us up at 730am and we drove to the little town of Alajuelita (If your taking a bus its to El Llano) about 30 minutes from San Jose. We knew we were meeting in front of a big church, but we did not know that it was the 75th year anniversary for the hike. We felt pretty safe knowing that there were hundreds of people climbing it. We started up the road promptly at 830am.After about 1/2 hour we turned off the road onto a trail. We took several photos on the way up because the view was just amazing. San Jose spreads far and wide.
The la Cruz de Alajuelita is about 2036 meters high (6679 feet), and took us roughly 4 hours of hiking round trip. Since we were in such a large group, the pace was set for us (a bit slow) you can see the line of people here.About one hour into the hike, we reached this cross, but only stopped for a photo, this was not the Cruz, not the highest peak. There was actually an eerie story of a family that was hiking up to the cross and was murdered at this point. This happened a long time ago, but was still a deterrent from going on the hike alone. When Ernesto and I reached the top, we were in a cloud. It would've been chilly, if we hadn't been sweating. Kate got to the top shortly after us and by that time the sky had cleared and the sun was blazing. We got a clear shot of the cross then.We ended up waiting for the laggers at the top for about 1.5 hours. That was fine though, we still got a great workout and the weather was so beautiful, we just found a spot in the grass between shit patties and took a nice cat nap in the sun.
I was happy when our guide told us we would descend by a different route than we came. It was weird being up so high, if the clouds were over you, it was chilly and dark.
The next minute it felt like the Sound of Music. We were walking across the mountain tops, to my left was the cityand to my right were breathtaking green mountains, and farm land! I took a pickture of this tree, becuase I thought it was so cool. The whole thing is covered with spanish moss and Bormelaids. During the whole hike, every two steps these plants were just laying there. I had to keep telling myself, "Don't pick those up Cindy, you dont have a garden Cindy" It worked to a certain extent. I couldnt resist a few, and look how beautiful they are.Friday night, we had our first "dinner party" with Lauren and Maureen.  Maureen brought brought a bottle of wine and  a houswarming gift of 4 wine glasses. Good thing - its no fun to drink wine out of coffe mugs.
Lauren brought her desire to cook, and she whipped up some delish fish fillets in the oven.and a mango, papaya, chile, and onion salsa to go one top! Que rico!Ernesto brought 4 of my Polish pottery plates from storage, so that made the table setting feel a bit more decorative. (the plates that came in the apt are...lets just say...not my style)Life has been different the last few days. Neto is here, we are moved in our new place, we have a birdie. Life is good!  

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