Today we are headed to the rain forest. I am so excited! We are hiking Big Tree Trail through a rain forest to a waterfall. The drive is amazing. There is beauty everywhere you look. At home I have been walking more, started taking my dogs on hikes down the road again and doing some Tai Chi to build some muscle strength. Trying to get back in shape, it is an excruciatingly slow process, but I am getting stronger everyday! I feel confident. On the way to the trail there is a truck on the side of the road selling coco frio! I have been wanting to taste one of these coconut drinks. We stop and get one. They chop this coconut with a machete right there in front of you. Stick a straw in it and hand it to you, can’t get any fresher than that! It is delicious cold and refreshing!
So here we are, in the El Yunque rainforest, at the top of Big Tree Trail! The trail is a narrow winding cement path. It is considered a moderately difficult trail. There is a 160 foot drop in elevation on this hike. I feel good! I am hiking in a magnificent rainforest! I couldn’t have done this at all a few short months ago! We march on. There are no large animals because everything thats here had to swim or fly in. Thankfully, for Scott, there are no poisonous snakes either! We see amazing trees and bamboo. There are orchids, ferns, big snails, and large rocks everywhere. The vegetation on this island is amazing. It kinda looks like nature is in a battle with civilization and nature is winning! I’m surprised that we don’t see more birds? The path is steep in some parts. My legs start to burn. It feels ok, I can do this! The path meanders around trees and small waterfalls and creeks. We take our time. Going down the steep wet inclines I hang on to Jerry, just in case.
I start thinking about my oncologist and how crazy she already thinks I am. I can’t wait to show her pictures of me hiking! I am really starting to get tired, my legs are getting weak. I am starting to worry. People are coming back up and telling us that it’s not much further, they must see the distress on my face. I think I can make it? I am worried that I won’t make it all the way there and back out! Up ahead is a bench. We sit down for a few minutes and I figure that I have come this far, I am not turning back now. I am gonna see this waterfall if it kills me! About 10 minutes more and we are there! LaMena waterfall! It is beautiful! Unfortunately, there are tons of people. The ground is so rocky there is no where to sit down and rest for a minute. My legs are so weak at this point that there is no way I can navigate all these rocks to get into the actual waterfall. I find a place to prop my butt and rest my legs a little. It is beautiful, despite all the people. I am so happy I made it. I feel empowered that I didn’t give up. It is the most physically challenging thing I have done since I have been sick, and my body didn’t let me down!
We are amazed at how rocky this area is. Jerry wades into the water which is pretty cold and refreshing and Scott heads further up the trail to see the view from the top. I am pleased to just rest on this rock, relish in the fact that I was able to do this, and take in all the beauty around me. It was a test alright and I almost gave up. But, I did it! Four and a half months post chemo. We take some pictures, gather our things and head back out. The hike out, that had me worried, seems easy, I can do this! I am just so proud of myself that nothing can stop me!
We head back out of the forest. On the way is this little restaurant/ souvenir shop. Right in front is a huge hole in the asphalt. I have to wonder if they don’t leave it there on purpose, so you have to slow down? We sample the offerings, shish kabobs, fish tacos, chicken tacos, fried plantains, and tamarind. The shish kabobs where delish, I really liked the fish tacos too. They didn’t look like tacos at all, more like a bread stick stuffed with fish. And the tamarind drink was sweet and smooth, yummy.
After our late lunch and exhausting hike we headed to Playa Fortuna beach. It was almost sunset the ocean was a perfect temperature. A wonderful and relaxing way to finish our wonderful day. Live while you live!