Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Trip Report: Nosara, Costa Rica III

Sunset from Pelada

Snorkeling at Carillo. They call this guy "The School Bus"

Third world traffic jam

II at Guiones

Yesterday we began the day doing the norm- waking up early, eating yogurt and granola like good hippies, and walking south to Guiones beach to surf. I didn't surf due to my achy ankle, but I was photog chick on the beach and took some cool pics of II surfing the small clean swell (my favorite! sigh...). Afterwards we drove south towards Samara. Samara is a nice beach town, slightly more developed and definitely more centralized than our beach town in Pelada, and we stopped for a few errands and street cart lunch. II got lobster on a stick with salad and tortillas for US $6, and I got fresh OJ, chicken, and pineapple for US $2.50. We were happy.
We continued on to get lost. After a ridiculous journey trying to connect with Caminando, we backtracked to Carillio, a beautiful bay just south of Samara. We tried out our new snorkel gear and were blown away. While cloudy, the bay kicked ass! We saw tons of technicolor fish, corals, and god-knows-what-else under the water.
We drove back in time to catch sunset at the beach, made tacos for dinner, and collapsed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Trip Report: Nosara, Costa Rica II

Location: I'm not telling!
Details: Today II and I decided to live the spirit of the 3-day hike we had planned to take (until I twisted my ankle) and explore some new beaches. Just when we had started to complain that Costa Rica was becoming too crowded, we drove south towards Samara took a right on a dirt road, and found ourselves at a nearly empty spectacular beach. We wandered around for hours, speculated on potential surf breaks, and collected trash. We found 7 shoes!
As I elevate my ankle, praying that I can finish my 50-miler, I have been reading Ed Abbey. What an awesome crochety old bastard. Anyhow, here is a quote of the day:
"A weird, lovely, fantastic object out of nature like Delicate Arch has the curious ability to remind us- like rock and sunlight and wind and wilderness- that out there is a different world, older and greater and deeper than ours, a world which surrounds and sustains the little world of men as sea and sky surround and sustain a ship. The shock of the real. For a little while we are again able to see, like a child sees, a world of marvels. For a few moments we discover that nothing can be taken for granted, for if this ring of stone is marvelous than all which shaped it is marvelous, and our journey here on earth, to be able to see and tough and hear in the midst of tangible things-in-themselves, is the most strange and daring of all adventures."
And on that note, I am going to watch the sun set into the ocean.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Trip Report: Nosara, Costa Rica

Okay, so this may not fit the traditional description of a trip report, since II and I have been down here numerous times before. But heck, let's go.
Trip: Playa Pelada, Nosara area, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Method: Surfing, primarily. Some diving, fishing, and running on the beach
Route: There are 2 good ways to get here from the states- flying into Liberia, and flying into San Jose. From both of those places you can rent a car, and from San Jose you can take a shuttle flight to Nosara (the quickest, easiest way if you don't have a lot of baggage).
Date: March 2009, as well as many other times in the past. We usually go once in March, and sometimes around Christmas, and II typically manages to weasel another trip down here in the summer. The wet season is May-October, which is hit or miss. Sometimes you get decent weather and can surf (albeit a bigger swell) other times you get dumped on (II and his buddies last May. Whenever I heard from them they were playing cards inside or riding the bikes around in the mud.
Difficulty rating: The surf is great for beginners (very consistent white water) and the waves are good for intermediate to advanced surfers. Guiones is a big beach break with lots of little peaks, but it's generally pretty soft. Pelada has some funny reef breaks during big swells.
Plusses: Not commercialized (yet), monkeys and iguanas in the trees, relatively easy to get to, surfing in a bikini, cheap mangos and avocados, amazing sunsets, consistent surf, II's mom makes us yummy baked goods, great medical care
Minuses: Involves international travel, getting more expensive/crowded as time goes on, stingy things (ants, scorpions, stingrays, etc.)

Details: Well, we really like it down here, to say the least. II was smart enough to buy a piece of property down here a few years ago that borders the biological reserve, and his mama managed the building of a couple houses on the property. We rent them both out when we aren't around.
So a couple times a year we come down, pull out our boards, and enjoy hanging out in the tropics. We have hosted lots of our friends and family members here over the years, and love sharing this place with people. Nosara/Playa Guiones/Playa Pelada is a great area, still full of family-run businesses, small hotels, and no chain stores. There isn't even a gas station. We spend our days away from electronics, talk to the people around us, enjoy the nature, and generally get back to life the way it should be.
On the bummer side, I twisted my ankle walking to surf the first day we got there. I skinned my knees and now my right ankle is puffy and bruised. 2.5 wks before the AR50! So we have decided not to go on our planned 3-day beach walk (sad!) and I'm just laying low, doing lots of icing, and crossing my fingers. It doesn't feel that bad, but at mile 40, who knows what might come up. Please send healing vibes in my direction!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Trip Report: Point Reyes Backpacking

Trip: Point Reyes National Seashore
Method: Backpacking
Day 1: Bear Valley Visitors Ctr>Bear Valley Trail>Glen Trail>Coast Trail>Wildcat Camp
Day 2: Coast Trail> Arch Rock>Bear Valley Trail>Bear Valley Vistors Ctr
Date: March 2009
Difficulty Rating: Easy to Moderate
Plusses: Stunning coastline, relatively mellow hiking, close to the Bay Area, wilderness-y single track trails
Minuses: Takes planning to make a reservation, trails and campsites can be crowded

Details: Backpacking at Point Reyes is like getting a beer after work with a friend who you feel comfortable with. The logistics are simple, the event predictable, you always have a good time, and you always remember why you like the guy/gal.
Point Reyes National Seashore is a little more than an hour north of San Francisco. There is a shuttle (the Stagecoach) that can get you to right to the Park's entrance from Central San Rafael, so you can even go the public transportation route.
The scenery is amazing. From intense stands of Douglas Fir, to soft rolling meadows, to impossibly steep cliffs dropping off into the ocean, the variety and drama of the landscape makes you feel like you are way further away from civilization than you are. First rule of thumb is to get off the Bear Valley Trail (the highway) as soon as possible for the ultimate nature-y experience.
The only camping is back country, which in the summer is nearly impossible to reserve. Winter is easier, but the best thing to do is just pick a weekend 3 months out and reserve a site (for last-minute summer camping, the Tomales Bay boat in sites are awesome, but that's another post). All sites have running water, outhouses, and trash/recycling. Yup, you don't have to pack out your trash. Again, not super wilderness-y, but it adds to the overall easiness of this trip.
I tried out my new Black Diamond firstlight tent, as well as my Z-lite thermarest, and was pleased. The tent was very roomy for a 2 person ultralight! I also test drove the big batch of veggies I dehydrated a few weeks back and they worked great- I am starting to perfect the ultimate backpacking dinner! I will post when I get it perfect.
On a personal level, we had a great group and a ton of fun. 8 of us- wow! But lots of laughter and silliness and we all ended the trip drinking local beers and eating oysters, so yeah. It didn't suck.

Even more Big Life Changes

I wanted to apologize for this lapse in blogging, but there have been some big life changes afoot (in addition to getting married, moving, and training for a 50 miler). I promise to update soon with good pictures of spring! Here is one of a weekend backpacking trip at Point Reyes to whet the appetite. And in short, training is still going well, though I'm having a tough time fitting in the long (3+ hr) runs...