The peace and quiet enjoyed over the past few weeks by the fieldbase team has been rudely interrupted. Yes, the X-Ray groups are back and kit-cleaning, reviews and the excited chatter of comparing experiences has been the order of the day.
The final blogs are coming in so without further ado here the first three from, appropriately enough, X-Rays 1-3!
X-Ray 1 (Serena and Emma)
280km later, X-Ray 1 sprinted the last 100 metres in the pouring rain towards the final stp of the Turrisantos Trek: Playa Palo Seco.
Words cannot describe the overwhelming feeling each of us had as we reached the long-awaited beach. With each member present fro the final stretch of the trek, a communal sense of achievement prevailed as we realised we’d finished the 17-day trek together.
The days before proved to be some of the most challenging for X-Ray 1 as injuries intensified and we were unexpectedly greeted with even more hills. However, the constant supplies of pulperias never failed to lift our spirits at the end of a tough day.
Looking forward to the beach only 2 days away, X-Ray 1, with immense determination, powered through the last 44km to smell the fresh sea air. Waking up to the sounds of crashing waves instead of a beeping alarm clock was hard for some of us to comprehend as that dreaded familiar ringing was all we’d known for the last 17 days. In hope of getting rid of our ridiculous sock tan lines we were up and out early hoping to absorb as much sun as possible. After a long day of swimming and sunbathing, some of us redder than others, we sat down for our last meal and final review. With all of us reflecting on our experiences during trek, we realised how self-sufficient we were with merely two trangias, a cooking pot and our backpacks. This back to basics lifestyle proved to be difficult yet extremely liberating.
So here we are now driving back to fieldbase, two hours from McDonalds! – an adventure we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.
|Proud of the team!|
|X-Ray 1 ..dedicated followers of fashion|
|If Carlsberg did sunsets....|
X-Ray 2 (Clare)
An early start fro X-Ray 2 on Friday 18th November as a long 29km trek awaited them. After saying their goodbyes to the roadtrip team the group headed off. The day was filled with highs and lows. Unfortunately Marette left the group after suffering from bad feet but she was always part of the team after trekking over 200km across the country with her fellow venturers and PMs.
Some of the group were hindered by blistered feet and sore joints but everyone pulled together and made it an unforgettable day. Amazing views, river crossings and a stunning sunset were jsut a few of the day’s highlights.
When X-Ray 2 reached their destination – Lilias – they were greeted by a friendly Costa Rican family and an enthusiastic girl named Karina, who cheered up the venturers. All exhausted from the long trip and tiring day, X-Ray 2 went to bed read for the next day’s trek.
Saturday 19th November started off better than expected when the lady in the house next door cooked everyone a delicious breakfast of gallo pinto, scrambled egg and bread along with the best cup of coffee. Bursting with energy, the group headed off at sunrise. The 18km trek ended with a steep climb through the jungle to the Cacao Plateau. The group were taken aback by the stunning scenery and were able to see their final destination – the beach and the Pacific Ocean. Sitting on the balcony of the ranger’s station, we took in the amazing scenery, all with huge smiles on our faces and looking forward to completing the challenge.
The following days were tough. Navigator Tom felt the pressure on day 16 when the group headed the wrong way through the jungle. When asked if we were going the right way, Tom replied: “If you want to head south to Panama be my guest but I’m heading west to the beach!” after fits of laughter, the group worked together and reached their destination – Maritza after an 8km struggle through the jungle.
The final day of the trek proved to be tough – a 30km battle through rain, puddles and long roads but after games, jokes and singing the group reached the final km of their entire trek. One by one each group member recalled their favourite moment. Mortiz: “When we camped at Lake Arenal and had an awesome view of the volcano with the most beautiful sunset.” Delun said her favourite moment was: “falling over in the jungle – so funny! Don Luz was legendary guiding us through the jungle.”
When the team finally reached the beach they all took their final steps in a line and ran into the sea. After emotional hugs and congratulations all round the group set up camp and celebrated with a delicious and well-deserved bbq.
The final day was spent relaxing on the beach, taking in the beautiful surroundings and enjoying each other’s company.
“The best experience of my life – challenging but extremely rewarding.” Clare Jones.
|X-Ray 2 trekkers extraordinaire!|
|X-Ray 2 with possibly the world's kindest family!|
|A well-earned group hug at the beach|
X-Ray 3 (Sarah B)
A lot has been happening with X-Ray 3 since our last blog – most notably Laura’s 23rd birthday. To celebrate, we spent the morning trekking about 4km to the nearest restaurant, where we enjoyed some delicious food for lunch and took in the incredible views across a huge valley covered in cloud forest.
In the afternoon we returned to camp fro birthday banoffee pie (which Will had managed to create with just bananas, oats and condensed milk), followed by an after-dark headtorch and ipod rave in our ‘rave-cave’ under the group tarpaulin.
Another great day was our day off on Sunday, which we spent trekking 19km through the National Park learning about different plants and trees from Don Guido along the way. We briefly stopped at a beautiful waterfall mid-morning, then continued on to a local restaurant for another delicious lunch. This also gave Ani a chance to find out the all-important football results.
We’ve also had a couple more bed-related incidents – Will’s basha bed broke in the middle of the night, then there was the ‘tarantula’ in Kate’s bed, which after much hysteria and Flor leaping out bed to kill turned out to be a regular spider.
In amongst all this excitement, we’ve been taking on the rockface that the water-pipes have to be laid into and have laid approximately 70m of pipework and partially dug a further 15m of trench.
After our final day’s digging (and a tough day of carrying all our group kit up the extremely steep hill between our camp and the ranger station), these efforts were rewarded with a really interesting talk on the biodiversity in the Central Pacific region in Costa Rica by one of the rangers, followed by a delicious meal cooked for us at the ranger station.
It is this hospitality from the rangers along with the unique opportunity to live in the middle of the rainforest and, of course, the members of X-Ray 3, that have made this project so much fun (in spite of the hard work and lack of dry clothes).
I think it’s safe to say we have all learnt a lot on this phase and take away some great memories.
|Group shot...on a bridge!|
|X-Ray 3 blogger Sarah enjoys the view|
|X-Ray 3 find an alternative use for their trench!|
|70 metres dug...quite a lot more to go!|