If the sky could dream, it would dream of dragons. ~ Ilona Andrews
After 4 hours of sleep I am gently roused by Ernesto, my dance partner from the night before and Lorena’s brother who looks like I feel. Despite our lack of sleep, we are going to see the volcano. I love that nothing seems to deter this family. Their drive, passion, energy and zest for life is contagious.
I take a quick sink bath, and there isn’t even time for coffee before we are out the door and on our way. I score shotgun and am grateful. These winding roads make me a bit nauseous on a good day.
Most of the drive takes us through congested roads in various towns, including crowded San Jose. I still find it remarkable that there appears to be no road rage here…at least compared to the States, particularly Illinois, and even more specifically, Chicago. There is no clear right of way, and being in the passenger seat is stressful. I’m grateful not to be driving.
After about an hour, we finally start climbing. We are in the Central Volcanic Mountain Range. Being just an hour from San Jose, Poas is one of the most popular tourist attractions, which leaves me to wonder why the roads are still so bad.
The sun is shining, blue skies blazing, and we are all hopeful that it will be clear enough to get a good view. Poas is an active volcano located in a cloud forest. I have no idea what to expect, but the anticipation, excitement and suspense is fueling my desire, combating the lack of food and coffee.
Finally, we stop at a cute little touristy restaurant and have breakfast. I break from my tradition of rice and beans (gallo pinto) and try something new. Chorreadas is a popular sweet corn dish served with a sauce that tastes like sour cream.
It’s ok. Dry. And though we are surrounded by coffee plantations, the coffee isn’t that good. I recognize the fact that I have been spoiled, and it’s not like it’s bad…but we all agree, we should have hit a less touristy location.
As we are finishing breakfast, it starts to rain. And by rain, I mean torrential downpour. The weather can change so suddenly here in the mountains. It’s at this point we realize that none of us brought an umbrella or rain gear. I was smart and brought my Sea to Summit dry sack and am grateful. It’s lightweight and fits my huge lens and camera perfectly. I can still take it with me and not have to worry about getting her wet. I highly recommend this purchase, to any and all photographers.
We arrive at the gate, and it is still raining. I pay more to enter since I am clearly not a local. They have to make their money somehow. The air is thick with the smell and taste of sulfur. We must be close!
Walking to the viewing area is refreshing in the light drizzle. Though the air is heavy with sulfur, it is pure. Clean. We are high above the city, floating amongst the clouds, and there is little pollution here. You know, just the occasional acid rain…no big deal…
And there it is. I’ve never seen a volcano before. And it doesn’t just sit there. This one clearly has a dragon living just below the surface, guarding some ancient treasure; a steady stream of smoke billowing from this huge gaping hole in the earth’s surface.
And the best part of being in a cloud forest is the thunder. You can feel it in your body, the vibration of sound. It was powerful, like nothing I had ever experienced.
The crater is almost a mile across, and is the largest active crater in the world. Though it is active, the last eruption took place in 1954.
Smoke and steam rise from cracks or pockets in the hot rock, called fumaroles. At times when the pressure is great, geysers can shoot as much as 820 feet high.
Dear Visitor, In Case of Volcanic Activity…keep calm?
We walk through trails of stunted, twisted growth, resembling something out of a Tolkein novel.
At one end of a trail, we arrive at Lake Botos that fills an extinct crater.
The journey home is long, and I take co-pilot once again, while Lorena and Edgar siesta.
Along the way, we stop for some much needed coffee, and to check out the local coffee plantations.
I recommend this trip for anyone visiting Costa Rica. It felt like an authentic experience. I would have left more time for chocolate and coffee plantation tours. There were places to stay here that looked really sweet, and I would recommend them as well. The mountain range is beautiful, and I could have spent more time here exploring and photographing.
We finally arrive home. And in keeping with this family, there is no rest for the wicked. We go straight into celebration mode for Edgar’s birthday.
And I am honored to be included in this family celebration.
For his birthday present, I gave him one of my “Dream Within a Dream” cards. His son translated the Edgar Allen Poe poem:
All that we see or seem
is but a dream within a dream
We call it an early night. Tomorrow Lorena, Edgar and I leave for Jaco for surfing. One last time riding the ocean waves before heading home.
I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now? John Lennon