Monday, July 17, 2006

Is that a Jack in the Box?

photo by Robin

After 3 breakdowns on the way to Gracias we finally made it. The town of Gracias is located high in the mountains in the Department of Lempira, so it has been a wonderful break from the heat. It only gets hot for a couple hours during the day and you can count on a refreshing breeze in the evening followed by a thunderstorm. Unfornately the daily thunderstorms are not enough to fill the rivers.

After getting the Land Rover towed behind a banana truck, we dropped it off at the local mechanic, Julio, and began developing a strategy for scoping out the local creeks. We decided to scout out the creeks flowing from the Parque Nacional de Celaque. This is the largest national park in Honduras and contains one of the largest remaining cloud forests in Central America. From the topo maps, it looked like the watershed had a couple of creeks with just the right type of gradient for creeking and locals spoke of an abundance of waterfalls. We packed up enough gear, food, and ammunition for 3 days in the jungle and caught a ride with our bilingual friend Walter to the park entrance. Robin carried the GPS and water filter, Jessie the tents and food and Laura, the machete, along with a determination to slice something up.

Ironically, the park´s name, la Celaque, means ´box of water´. Unfortuantely for us, the box of water was more like a box of rocks... all the rivers and streams we scouted were far too low, even after a torrential downpour our second night there. We did, however, salvage the trip by summiting the tallest peak in Honduras, glimpsing a ketzal and killing a scorpion. I felt a little bad about the scorpion incident, but in our defense it was the middle of the night, it was right next to my bed and Laura insisted it was ´hella poisonous´. We ate dinner with a 75 year-old woman who had been living in the park her entire life. She cooked in a one-room shack over an open fire some of the best food we´ve had on the trip so far. The experience there was priceless, and my only regret is our Spanish wasn´t good enough to fully comprehend the abudnance of her knowledge and experience.

Right now, it is 2 PM local time and we are having a down day to figure out some logistics. I am writing this blog, Robin is running around town doing who-knows-what and Laura is sitting at the bar drinking cervezas with some locals who are pretending to understand her hack Spanish, but really they are just looking at her boobs. We are going to continue studying the maps and try to figure out our next course of action. The sickest waterfall ever seems to still be eluding us, but hopes are high we will track it down soon. Keep your fingers crossed for us. Updates soon...

Rio Aracagual...

Photo by Robin

No comments: