En La Volcan Poas

We did a face plant very quickly last night, and were quite sound sleepers through the night last night.  Wayne was up at his typical early hour and I slept in until 5:30.  We met up with Darien & Aaron for breakfast, and then shortly met our mothers (no, not really)...I mean Aaron’s parents, Elaine (Wayne’s mom’s name) and Randy (slight variation on mine).  They are California transplants who have spent the last 20+ years living in Maryland.

We took off after breakfast for the Poas Volcano (a national park here in Costa Rica).  As we ascended the mountain into the park, we passed by a number of cyclists heading up.  There were many cars, not to mention a news truck and Kolbi signs, as we gained entrance to the park.  And we had a delightful team of three (ha, ha) helping us to park.  They wanted us to back in, but then had another 3 cars backing in at the same time, and pinning us in.  I was grateful we made it into the space and out of the car without difficulty.

No sooner had we made it out of the car, then the rain started in earnest.  It wasn’t terribly bad, but it did mean that we wouldn’t get to see the view of the crater and its warm lake.  Nevertheless, it was a nice walk up and around inside the lush, tropical foliage.  At one point, it felt like we were in the midst of an Escher painting, we continued to climb and climb in elevation, despite returning back to our starting point.  Great workout for quads and glutes today!

The story of conservation at Poás began in Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the 1960's. Mario Boza was a student when he visited the park in the United States and was so impressed that he developed a plan to manage the area around Poás Volcano in a similar way, presented it as his masters thesis, and pursued its implementation.

Poás volcano is a powerful symbol of the geothermal forces that formed Costa Rica.  When the mist and clouds part there is a sulfuric, bubbling, green rain fed lake at the bottom, surrounded by smoke and steam rising from fumaroles, similar to Yellowstone. And, water from the lake is constantly seeping through cracks in the hot rock, evaporating and building pockets of steam, which then steam breaks through in geysers that rocket up to 820 feet high. Poas is the largest active crater in the world, but the most recent period of eruptive activity ended in 1954.  It is 13,800 acres, which is 16 times the size of Central Park, and its highest peak is near 8,900 feet (Wayne says actually 8800 feet, as per his GPS that is accurate to within 30 feet).                                 

Coming back down the mountain was a bit more of a feat.  We no sooner had left the park, when we stopped for what felt like ages.  It turned out that the awards ceremony for the bicycle race had ended, and that the traffic police were directing traffic.  We had thought we might stop at a local place on the way down the slope, but each restaurant was jam packed full of bicyclists, reporters, etc., so we continued back to San Jose.  There we decided to stop at a local chicken restaurant, Rosti Pollo for lunch prior to going back to pick up a cargo shell for the top of the car so that all of our luggage could make it in the car, along with six people.  We were stopped from entering the Rosti Pollos lot, and then redirected back to the parking slot I had originally eyeballed by an elderly gentleman, who seemed to be the director of parking.  Too much!  Oh well, it seems like they pay him with tortillas and beans, so I guess his guardianship of the lot is appropriate.

From there, to get the clamshell, and then to get Christmas sides, wine, and food to make for dinner.  We had a simple bolognese with tri-color pasta, and the wonderful company of Darien, Aaron, Randy and Elaine.  We definitely laughed, ate well, and are now prepping to hit the hay and get an early start to the communities in the morning.

Sleep well all!