Saturday, 25 February 2012

Trekking - Alpha 1 stylee!

Alpha 1 have passed the halfway point of the Turrisantos trek! Yey! Though it hasn’t been easy. Day 5 was an epic 28 km journey that left us all blistered and bruised, but our pain gave rise to the funniest line of the trek so far: “Alpha 1, where the heck are you?!!” cried an exasperated Tim, inadvertently making us all burst into laughter.

The rough conditions of day 5 however led to a very welcome lie-in the next day, which was followed by an excellent and efficient foot clinic run by PM Dr Katie. Seven years of medical training to be treating blisters! Despite the late start, we got to our campsite in good time, and desperate for a wash, we all took a dip in the nearby river. We were enjoying a refreshing swim when the most unusual thing floated by - a rather dead chicken. Needless to say, we all got out of the water pretty quickly after that.

Days 5, 6 and 7 were extra special for Alpha 1 as we had a special guest from Fieldbase – finance manager Holly. Her cheerfulness and motivation were most welcome, although I think her most useful skill was her great expertise in putting tents up! Day 7 saw an early finish for Alpha 1, so we spent the afternoon relaxing on a football pitch and playing with the local children. Although I don’t think they appreciated it when their football rolled over and Hanko had his penknife out!

Day7 also brought possibly our best sleeping location so far – the storeroom behind the shop. The shopkeeper was absolutely lovely and insisted that we all bought something, so we had an afternoon feast of churros, crisps and ice cream. A food drop was much appreciated on day 7 especially as it brought Claire, Caroline and Alfredo to visit us from Fieldbase, and they spent the night with us in our cosy storeroom.

Unfortunately on day 8, Rosh came down with a stomach bug, so she had to head back to Fieldbase with Katie. The rest of Alpha 1 powered on up some very steep terrain. It was tough at times, kudos to Louis who was physically pushing me up the mountain at points, but we eventually got to our campsite, which was an electricity pylon. After carefully constructing our tents around the pylon we settled down to dinner around a lovely campfire built by Hanko. The altitude meant it was really quite chilly, so the warmth from the fire was much appreciated. We all fell asleep to the sweet sound of electricity humming...

Day 9 was one of the milestones for Alpha 1. After an arduous climb, we reached the highest point of the whole trek, 2852 meters. It was an amazing feeling and not at all ruined by Allegra pondering: “Is this a hill or a mountain?” Quickly followed by: “It can’t be a mountain, it doesn’t have snow on top.” – this from someone about to study geography at university. Day 9 also brought the halfway point of the trek. Round of applause for PM Roeland who helped us celebrate in style by buying tuna and jalapeno peppers to jazz up our dinner of pasta and sauce. The community centre we stayed in that night even had a table and some chairs, so we sat down to a wonderful formal halfway dinner.

We covered a lot of ground on day 10 due to the Pan American highway. This tarmac, perfectly flat road was (by some) very welcome after 9 days of jungle and rocky tracks. Another plus of the highway was the numerous service stations, so we were able to pick up some tasty snacks at each trekking break.

All in all, we are continuing to make good progress, and Playa Hermosa feels that little bit closer. Pura Vida!


  1. For Roisin Carson, Alpha 1

    Hey Sis, me again , hope i'm doing this right... can't see my last message.. Anyways :) Thinking of you, I know it must tough but you have an idomitable spirit! I saw Sabbie last week and she wanted to send you lots of love, she kept saying, Roisin's so inspiring and wanted me to say she misses you and looks forward to seeing you when you're back. Brenda also heard you were stuggling a bit and has placed this heart that you once made at a mtg (maybe with a determination on it... she took it for you when you said no-one else had..) in front of her Gohonzon. Also Stella wanted to send you so much love and said she is chanting for you ever day and Ivan and I are continuing to do alternate morning Gongyo's for you :) He asked everone at todays St. Leonards discussion mtg to dedicate Gongyo to you so you are very much within everyones hearts as always.
    Here's todays guidance for you, liked this one, is from 'The Gosho in our life':
    "It is the heart that is important. No matter how earnestly Nichiren prays for you, if you lack faith, it will be like trying to set fire to wet tinder. Spur yourself to muster the power of faith. Regard your survival as wondrous. Employ the strategy of the Lotus Sutra before any other. “All others who bear you enmity or malice will likewise be wiped out.”(Shijo Kingo's attackers) These golden words will never prove false. The heart of strategy and swordsmanship derives from the Mystic Law. Have profound faith. A coward cannot have any of his prayers answered." Written to Shijo Kingo, the Strategy of the Lotus Sutra Gosho.
    Sending you infinite love sis xxxx

  2. SAM HORBYE ALPHA 5 Spring has certainly arrived but who knows for how long. Brilliant rugby yesterday 19 - 12 to Wales, but England were phenomenal with Farrell exceptional. Miss you lots and think of you always. Longing to hear how it is all going.

    With love M,D, T and B X

  3. Steve Donovan (aka Dad)26 February 2012 at 07:49

    For Joe Donovan Alpha 6

    Hi Joe. How are things? I won't say I hope you are having a great time, because that would no doubt be a daft question.
    Just to keep you up to date, here’s some Sports news: Following Mick McCarthy's sacking, Jez Moxey said the vacant Wolves job was "no job for a novice", but after all the usual suspects declared they were less than interested, guess who was appointed ? Mick's assistant Terry Connor - a novice! Looks like Wolves need a miracle to stay up!! They drew 2-2 yesterday with Newcastle. No England Manager yet (what are they playing at?), and AVB is still hanging on to his job at Chelsea.
    Good news for you. England played brilliantly against Wales in the 6 Nations yesterday. However, bad news for you - they lost! Wales have now won the Triple Crown (having beaten Ireland, Scotland, & England). Bring on the Italians next week.
    On the home front, I'm in the middle of a study marathon, for another qualification – something I’m sure you’re well familiar with. I’ll be glad when it’s all over.
    Following the publication of virtually all other Alphas Blog updates, we’re all looking forward to reading the next Alpha 6 one (hopefully with photos), as we want to know how you are all getting on, and whether you have a future in the latrine digging industry.
    All our love
    Dad (& Mum) xx

  4. Roisin Carson Alpha 1
    Hey your alomost there so proud of you !!! well done.. bet you carn't wait to get to beach !!.Here in sunny Bexhill its getting warmer no more snow, Iv just taken Eddie for a long walk , he'll sleep for two days now !!!
    Paul and I went to see Nanny and Grandad on Sat 25th They are both well and are so proud at what you are doing... I would love to have had the opportunuty to do what you are doing ... I will blog again hope you are getting the messages lots of love from us all xxxx

  5. For Alexi Meghir (Alpha 3 Carrara National Park)

    Arsenal Tottenham 5-2 and you have a green card! We miss you and thinking of you - Love Dad!

  6. Sian Lewis Alfa 3

    Dear Sain,
    All is well here. Mamgu is still hospital because it is taking a while for things to get working. However, we are relieved as it would have been a bit soon for her to have come home last week. She is in good spirits and sends her love. I have sent a couple of cards, I don't know if you get post when you are on the project. We are hoping that we will be able to speak to you at the end of this week and hear all your news. We are very excited and feeling quite impatient to hear from you. Don't know if I mentioned but I spoke to Pete and he is fine. He is keeping close track of the days until he can speak to you. We are having some lovely spring weather here and having our own wildlife spectacle with the frogs jumping around the pond. Bethan has booked a holiday to Fuete Ventura in the Canaries for the end of her exams - I was beginning to think they would never agree on anywhere - there are 10 of them. I am completely over doing the work at the moment and hoping to get things a bit under control over the next couple of weeks. Everyone else is well David rings every single night for news of Mamgu even though Gill has forbidden him from bothering us. Looking forward to speaking to you we will keep the Skype on in the evenings from Thursday onwards and hope you get through. Don't be afraid to buy phone if you want to. I expect Bethan told you the problem is that Orange don't cover Costa Rica - Dad was not happy. We can find out who does cover it if that would help.
    Much love and thinking of you.

  7. Alpha 1

    Roisin Carson

    Hey Megs and I are keeping tabs on you via the blog.

    We both hope you get better soon from the stomach bug.

    Love from the 2/3's of the musketeers.

  8. Maria Gerono Alpha 6
    Woo hoo! Silverware at last for Anfield! Liverpool 2 Cardiff 2 after extra time. Steven took first penalty and missed, Suarez same, Downing scored, Kuyt and Johnson all scored. Cardiff's Antony Gerrard (yes his cousin) missed. Nothing like doing it the hard way... Can't wait for the homecoming.
    Oh and conquered Snowdon yesterday. Harder than I thought. You never told me how much scrambling there is. Definitely got a touch of vertigo. Thank goodness the mist came in to obscure the view on the way back down. Anyway we did it and it was great fun.
    Love you missing you loads. Thought you'd like an early birthday present with news of the boys. Will send more greetings tomorrow xxxx

  9. For Matt Moore, Alpha 2

    Looking forward to a progress update from your trek...a mum could die waiting for news of her long lost son!

    Meanwhile, this weekend's footie results: Chelsea finally made it look easy yesterday with a 3-0 home win over Bolton (Luiz, Drogba, Lampard) which was welcome after the 3-1 defeat in Napoli on Tuesday (which we watched in a bar full of Italians in Venice). Only got to win 2-0 then in the home leg... Still 5th in the league 'though (on goals scored) to Arsenal who came back from 0-2 down today v Spurs to win 5-2! Man City & Man U both won. And Liverpool won the Carling Cup on penalties v Cardiff.

    Dad and I loved Venice and Pippa had a fab ski trip with her gang of friends. Harvey is still sleeping off his week away too. It's warm and sunny here now 'thankfully after all that cold stuff. Hope we may hear from you by 'phone / email when you get back to base before the next challenge? Need to discuss date change for your return from Canada in July. And if you get internet access you may want to catch up on Dad's slot on 4 Thought TV this week....!

    Loads of love from us all back home xxxx

  10. Para Valeria Alpha 8

    Que me dice Valeeeeee, de fijo la está pasando o la pasó (depende de cuando le den este msj) increiblemente en nicaragua. Espero que todo le haya salido de maravilla y que sus metas se esten cumpliendo demasiado. Es rajado que ya esta su primera fase esté terminando o ya terminó, lo que hace ver que ud puede terminar esta experiencia a lo mejor... Te mando un gran abrazo y sigale poniendo saborsh y energia a esta expedición que ud tiene de sobra!! :D

    Se despide Andréss Cambronero... ;)

  11. Hi George Alpha 6
    Still waiting for news of Alpha 6, hopefully will be any day now. I'm in Stony for a few days, funny to think you were on the same plane 3 weeks ago. G & G are well, Val is here too as she has a big dental appointment tomorrow. Hannah & Will now back in Edinburgh so Pepper has gone on her hols til Thursday. Think dad will write to you about the rugby at the weekend so won't give anything away.
    Hope you're having a great time, you must be in your last week in Nicaragua, can't wait to read the blog about what you've been up to & photos too.
    Love from us all
    Mum xxx

  12. Message for Louis Worrall Operation Raleigh Costa Rica Alpha 1
    Keep the mouse in the house!!! That is a message from Ru and Giles who are down with Granny for the night. We are all missing you and thinking of you all the time.We are all wanting to see a photo of you at some point!!!!
    Harry, Archie and Louisa all say hi and hugs. Sasha and Bug spent a lot of time together at half term, even Ant came to stay for the weekend. Sasha has had some great pics taken for her CD and don"t forget to sing yourself!!! Have fun big hug Muma Dad, Sasha , Grundig Ru and Giles

  13. Message for Allegra Dowley. Durham offer (from Castle): you need an A* in Geog and an A in Chem OR an A* in Chem. Congrats. Lots of love from M & D.

  14. Hanko Gerritsen Alpha 1

    Hoi Hanko,
    vandaag eindelijk terug? we hopen snel wat van je te horen. Hebben alles op de blogs gevolgd en een paar fotos van je gezien. Hoe gaat het met de blaren? Ben je nog ziek geweest? Het moet wel waanzinnig mooi geweest zijn. IS er een rustdag of zo of moet je morgen meteen aan het werk? Wij zijn weer terug in Nederland. Alles goed hier. Je krijgt van ons allemaal de hartelijke groeten,

  15. Roisin Carson - Alpha 1


    I went for a jog the other day and still haven't recovered, imagine me out there, I'd be just hopeless. Proud of you, you green freak.

    Loveyous. Laksh xxxxx



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Pura Vida!