A Simple Pleasure
One of the simplest pleasures in life has got to be the warmth of the sun on one’s skin on a crisp, cool morning.
Take the time I was in Costa Rica, for example. Okay, fine. So, the trip in itself wasn’t exactly simple. But it was still an amazing experience leading up to this simple pleasure.
I went on a two-day whitewater rafting trip on the Pacuare River, considered by many to be the one of the best whitewater rafting rivers in the world.
On day one, an ex and I were picked up at our hotel in San Jose and were treated en route for a typical Costa Rican breakfast, consisting of rice and beans, eggs, and tropical fruits. I can’t remember all the details of the trip because it was a few years ago. But I do remember being dropped off and having to hike down a bit to the river. After a long orientation and safety talk by the river guides, we were able to proceed down the Pacuare on Class III-IV rapids.
A great thing about this rafting adventure was that it offered many pounding rapids — some with waves higher than myself! — for those who love the thrill and seek the adrenaline. At the same time, there were stretches where we floated down the river and soaked in the scenic beauty deep in the heart of a series of densely forested gorgeous gorges and steep canyon walls, punctuated by about 20 gushing waterfalls and serene pools. In some of the calmer areas, we were able to swim in the pools and observe blue morpho butterflies, sloths, tucans, red frogs, parrots, otters, and herons. The Pacuare isn’t called “the quintessential tropical river” for nothing.
After a long day of rafting and braving many rapids (yes, we also stopped by for picnic lunch on a riverbank), we arrived at Rios Tropicales Lodge which was nestled in an 1000-acre private reserve in the heart of a tropical rainforest, complete with natural waterfalls, pools and hiking trails. When I came out of my private bungalow after taking a nap, I forgot where I was for a moment that I thought that I was in a magical paradise. In fact, for a split second, I really thought that I saw a unicorn prancing around. As it turned out, it was just a white horse (Don’t ask me how it got there. I guess someone carried it on a raft).
We were then treated to a gourmet candlelight dinner with wine. And every now and then, I’d look up and could almost make out the white horse in the near distance.
The next day, I woke up early and went on a fairly difficult hike. When I got to the top of a pretty steep hill, I sat there, way above the rainforest and the river below me. As I took a moment to meditate, for the first time on that trip, I felt the warmth of the sun on my skin. It was an absolutely amazing and humbling feeling.