Our group of interns just got back from a three day stint in the jungle. We did a lot things including exploring the valley. We hiked every day, which looking back is pretty amazing considering I can’t recall ever hiking in my life. Starting in the town of San Miguel, fellow interns Lynette, Laura, and I hiked with our packs for 1 hour and 45 minutes until we reached base camp. Most of the hike was uphill, in the sun, and on unpaved road. At times, it seems impossible. I learned to take it slow, but to keep moving. The faster you move, the faster you get done with it. Fortunately, I managed to get only 2 blisters.
The next morning, Brigitte the Outdoor Recreation Director, took all of us on a two hour hike on the Honeycreeper Hiking Trail, named after a bird seen just off the path. She is a very knowledgeable guide who was able to point out and describe various wildlife species. She told us that essentially the only real threats to humans in the jungle are the snakes and spiders. As long as you don’t provoke it, you should be safe and the rivers are totally safe.
The following day the local legend, Ramon, took us on a four hour hike with 30 river crossings round trip to see and swim in a waterfall. Because it rained when we reached the waterfall the river was moving rapidly for the hike back, which made it difficult to cross and added to the adventure. We saw a black and red snake on the way back (my first snake spotting); fortunately, Ramon came over and hacked it with his machete. As we were finishing Ramon took us by his property and picked for us the juiciest oranges I have ever tasted.
The next morning, we left camp on foot again to head back to San Miguel where we caught the bus to go back into the city. The hike out of the valley was cake because it was mostly downhill. Four hikes in four days are fun and very doable even for the non hiker such as me.