“Life´s not about running away from the rainstorm, but learning to dance in the rain” is what I suddenly thought when we were caught in a heavy rainstorm in the Tapanti National Park. Our outing had started with a beautiful sunny day, but this being the rainy season, I knew our day would involve rain at some point.
The Tapanti National Park sits alongside a series of parks that form the largest continental protected wilderness area, extending from southern Costa Rica into Panama. I love going there, the vibe of the forest is totally different from the forests in the Central Valley. The road to the entrance of the park is about 2 miles south of Orosi on 224, look for a sign. Once on the dirt road, (which is pretty good shape) if you come to a town, in less than a mile, named Rio Macho, your on the right road.
If you have never visited Costa Rica, you may be wondering why I´m giving these odd directions. Not many things are marked here, roads, streets, towns, etc., so the only way to give directions is to say “So much from this place” or “When you see this turn left”. A tip on Costa Rican etiquette, when you stop to ask for directions; first say “Buenas” (good day), then proceed to ask for directions. When the person is done giving you directions, smile and say “Gracias”. I’d say it’s worth your while being polite on this point, you don’t want to be wrongly sent to kingdom come because of your lack of manners.
As we entered the park, we were greeted with Morpho butterflies, but were unsuccessful in photographing them. They are more elusive than other butterflies. Oncidium orchids over hung the road. People here call them “rain of gold” because of their abundant golden flowers.
Something I find fascinating and were also hanging over the road, are the nests made by Oropendula birds. Oropendulas belong to the blackbird family and nest in colonies. They´re about the size of a crow, so their nests are somewhat big and hang from trees.
The park has several paths for hiking, we decided to go down the “Sendero La Catarata” path. The day was so sunny I left our raincoats in the car thinking it wouldn’t rain for awhile. The path has views of a very large water fall, I´d say it´s at least 100 meters long.
As we wound down to the river, we crossed over several creeks.
The river was a beautiful blue color with clear water.
We climbed through the rocks up the river and as we were taking pictures I could hear thunder in the distance.
But since the weather has been funny, I thought maybe it won’t rain too hard. When it did start to rain, we slowly began to make our way through the rocks to the head of the trail. I am somewhat weary of rivers here, especially if I’m in a place where I can’t easily get to the shore. During certain times of year the rains are torrential here. They usually start up the mountains, so even though it´s not raining where you are at, the river can suddenly rise. I’ve been witness to this, so look for signs as to how far the river has risen with the rains from the day before.
As we walked along the path to our car, the heavy forest shielded us from the rain. But suddenly we could hear the heavy downpour approaching and began to run to avoid my daughters photographic equipment getting wet. At some point I was left behind and was met with the torrential rain. I don´t think a raincoat would of even shielded me. Why I began to run, I don´t know, maybe because we are taught to run out of the rain. But at some point I thought “What is the point? What am I running from?”. I stopped, looked up into the trees and enjoyed the rain falling on my face. This is when I thought, “Life is not running away from the rainstorm, but learning to dance in the rain”. This is something I have tried to apply in my life. Instead of fighting, finding something positive out of the moment.
I continued to trudge back up the path in my water logged jeans. As I neared the end of the path, I could see my second son coming toward me with an umbrella he had gotten out of the car. We both began to laugh at the absurdity of it