Monday, October 09, 2006
We got up this morning hoping to go on another adventure and redeem ourselves after our pitiful start to our 3 day weekend. But, as you can see, Courtney DOES have a Charlie Brown tattoo which he feels sums up our entire Columbus Day Weekend. We got up early and drove to El Yunque in northeastern Puerto Rico. El Yunque is the only tropical rain forest in the US Forest Service and is the largest protected land area in PR. It covers 28,000 acres of land, has 4 different types of forests, and has over 200 native species of trees, mammals, & insects. We also found out in a video, thanks to Jimmy Smits, that they are trying to bring back the native Puerto Rican Parrot which was almost completely wiped out during the 1989 hurricane that ripped through the island. We read up on how to get to "the Yunq" (I just thought of that!) and decided to head out. We wore our comfy shoes, long pants, and of course our bathing suits because you can swim in many of the waterfalls there. As I was reading I came across something very interesting, in one of my books it says this: "Visitors should be aware of the threat of mongoose attacks. Mongeese look like light-colored skunks, and most mongeese who approach humans are infected with rabies - avoid any contact." Thanks for the warning! We drove the almost 2 hours to El Yunque and decided to go through the south side because it's closer to Guayama. We were driving through the winding roads up the mountain to the rain forest and I decided to make a joke. I said, "Wouldn't it suck if we got there and they said it was closed? Or what if just this road is closed?" We all laughed and kept driving...I must be psychic!! I kid you not, we drove about 30 minutes up the mountain and were greeted by a little man in a red shirt who said, "You have to turn around, this road is closed." WHAT?!?! Or as we say here...QUE?!?! Again...Courtney has a CB tatoo so we should have known that would happen. We decided to keep driving and go to the northern entrance and try to get in. That worked but it was a 30 minute drive down plus another 30 minutes or so to the north side. We got there and went to the visitors center where the best part was the movie. We drove up through the forest and found a tower that you can climb up to look out. It really was breath taking and much cooler. There's a picture I took from the top of the lookout tower. We then decided to try to drive to one of the waterfalls that you can swim in because after all we did wear our suits! The hike we took is the La Mina Trail because the waterfall is the La Mina Waterfall. The trail is 3/4 mile one way. Brent and Katie have been hiking before but this was really my first time...I believe Courtney's also. We did pretty well if I do say so myself. While we were hiking it, of course, started pouring. We walked the 3/4 mile in the rain and finally reached the waterfall. Absolutely gorgeous! Katie, Courtney, & I took off our clothes and hopped in. Brent wasn't feeling well so he sat out with our goods. Courtney was walking across the rocks and the water from the falls combined with the rain made them very slick and he fell twice. He hurt his knee a bit but he's doing fine. We tried to go under the falls but Courtney didn't want Katie or I to try it so we just stood in the water at the bottom. Unfortunately because of the rain we didn't take out the camera for pictures. I guess we'll have to go back! Katie and I were so soaked and didn't want to try to pull our jeans back on so we made the 3/4 mile trek back in our bathing suits and tennis shoes...oh yeah, very sexy! After the hike back to the car we decided to head home. It had been a LONG day, LONG weekend, and we knew we had a LONG ride home...in the rain. We saw these things on the way up the mountain that we had to stop on the way down for pictures of. For those of you who don't know, when Court was in college (GO ESU!) he wrote an essay paper (in Spanish...he's so smart!) on the chupacabras (remember that paper Clamurro?). The chupacabras is literally a "goat sucker". Animals have been found dead with puncture wounds in their necks and all of their blood sucked out. No one has ever seen a chupa but this is their interpretation of what it looks like. Courtney said it was completely wrong and this one does not match the descriptions he's read. Either way we were pretty excited to find this cutout and had to get pictures. Isn't Courtney hot?!