I am at Rios Tropicales. - www.riostropicales.com. This eco lodge sits on the something that starts with a "P" river. We came here by boat, well actually, by white water raft. It is beyond beautiful. This was my first white water trip and it was a rush. We embarked at a point in the road well above Horquetas and Rio Frio at the meeting point above the river in a squalor town we transferred our gear to a large trailer that was being pulled by a tractor. Literally a farm tractor that took us down the road that our river guide, Chino, called a .. class four road. And it was. The 20 minutes down the steep grade took us to the loading point where we got into the rafts and began the ten kilometer ride down one of the most beautiful rivers on earth. It was spectacular.
We, all of us, pulled and pushed our paddles against the river over large rocks and bump and tumbled into huge ones all in an attempt to avoid the enormous ones. And that was how we came to this place, Rios Tropicales.
The eco lodge is made up of spectacular cabins and rooms. The floors are crafted from river stone and the furnishings are upscale. As I write this with all my screened windows open I hear the sound of the river all around me. Its as though I am on the bank of the river. I happen to be approximately a hundred feet up from the water, but the huge rapids that run in front of the lodge .. I'm in room 1... make an incredibly loud noise. And that is punctuated by crickets and buzzing chirping jungle insects. I've never been anyplace like this before.
When we pulled our rafts onto the shore and unloaded we could hear howler monkeys in the distance. I'm told that we will likely hear them again in the morning.
Today after our rafting experience, the show hosts, our three 12 year holds, rappelled down a waterfall. We walked across a suspension bridge that tipped and twisted as we walked across. I flew the helicopter drone up the face of the waterfall to capture part of the experience from a very different angle. It was the hardest flying I'd done yet. The waterfall made a difficult to maneuver updraft as it crashed into the pool of water below. Never mind that there was no place to take off or land. Loren held it over his head as he balance on the edge of the pool. Above the falls was a thick canopy of jungle. One wrong move and the flight would be over. The helicopter couldn't find the satellites for its GPS assist so I flew the mission completely on my own. After filming the climbers I returned the drone to Loren's reach where he put up his hand and caught it. I flew it twice and got some great footage.
Time for bed. I get up at 5:30 to film the lodge from the other side of the bridge. Again ... with the helicopter.
So for now I will let the river lull me to sleep.
- note- this entry was written last night as I drifted off to sleep with the something-that-starts-with-a-"p" river outside my windows. There was no internet at the lodge. I will write again in the morning. I'm too exhausted now that we are back at the Sun Sun. We leave early in the morning for Nicaragua. The reason for the rushed departure is unusually low water in the river we are traveling on. We apparently need to get there before dark as there are crocodiles in the water and they don't recommend spending the night on the water with them. Its normally a 4-hour boat ride. No telling what it will be tomorrow.
This morning after my early flight filming the Rios Tropicales we hiked up a 900 vertical foot climb to the top of the ridge. The path was clear but the jungle surrounding it was hot, humid and unforgiving. We came across poisonous snakes, thousands of leaf cutter ants and bullet ants that are so venomous that five bites will send you to the hospital. Not to worry though. Its not like they hunt you down. They keep to themselves and unless you go looking for them, you'll never know they were there. Its true that more people go to the hospital gagging on a chicken bone than for anything having to do with accidental encounters with wildlife. Get over it. The one we saw was over an inch long. An ant. Look at a ruler, an inch is a lot for an ant. We also came across a 100' tall tree loaded with long teardrop shaped nests of a large beautiful oriole. I couldn't resist and flew over the tree with the helicopter and filmed the nests up close. It was incredibly fun.
OK. Off to bed and let's hope there is internet in Nicaragua. I will write more from the Sun Sun and again on the boat ride up to Rio Indio.