Did you read all about day 1 of my Cerro Chirripó adventure? If not click this link to read all about Casa Mariposa!
Our first day of hiking began with waking up at 4:00 am. I think all three of us were awake before my alarm went off due to Hannah being startled by Jill’s cat being on her bed.
In silence and excitement, the three of us dressed, packed up our bags, and headed for the kitchen. There, we each ate oatmeal and drank tea in silence to mentally prepare for the 14 kilometer (8.7 mile) hike to Crestones Base Camp.
Around 4:50 am, Audrey, Hannah, and I found ourselves on Casa Mariposa’s porch finding our bamboo walking sticks before beginning the trek. Audrey had the brilliant idea of taking a short video at each kilometer along with a selfie with the kilometer sign.
When talking with the German couple the night before, they had warned us the first 5 kilometers were REALLY steep. Let me tell you, part way through kilometer one, the three of us were peeling off layers because of how much we were sweating from the exertion of going uphill. I felt extremely winded and stopped every few minutes to catch my breath while Audrey and Hannah led the way.
Truly, the first 5 kilometers were a mental game for me. I am a huge Rachel Hollis and Dave Hollis fan. I love Rachel’s books and her RISE podcast and enjoy listening to her and Dave on their “Start Today Morning Show.” A couple of months ago, they both completed the 29029 challenge. Essentially, participants climb a mountain enough times that its the equivalent height of Everest. Rachel and Dave both talked about how the experience was mental and how the words ‘better’ and ‘stronger’ got them through their last few ascents.
For the first 5 kilometers of Cerro Chirripó, I repeated those words in my head and under my breath like a mantra: better and stronger. I kid you not, those two words helped distract me and caused the time to fly by when hiking. By kilometer 5, I was actually enjoying myself and the hike which I attribute to the Rachel and Dave mantra of better and stronger.
The first part of the hike took Audrey, Hannah, and I through the damp and muddy forest. Around us was lush vegetation, bamboo, and huge trees. Horses passed by us carrying supplies and bags back down the mountain with their handlers. If you do not want to carry your bags to Crestones Base Camp, you can have a horse carry it for you for a hefty fee of colones per kilogram.
Before the three of us could believe it, we arrived at the halfway point: kilometer 7. At kilometer 7, there is a rest stop with food for purchase and restrooms. Everyone drank water and ate some snacks to recharge for the next 7 kilometers. While waiting at the halfway point, Audrey, Hannah, and I had to throw our layers back on again because the temperature had cooled with the high elevation.
After 30 minutes, we packed up and continued onward. Within the next couple of kilometers, the vegetation began to shift away from “rain forest” to more dry and temperate. I would say the second 7 kilometers were the most peaceful. There were a couple of times where we stopped and basked in the silence of the forest and mountains. Because permits are required to be able to enter Cerro Chirripó National Park, there is a maximum of 55 people hiking at a time. This made the hike all the more enjoyable because there was hardly anyone on the trail. Once again, we were met with incredible views of Costa Rica. The clouds hovered over the mountains creating misty and stunning views. Hannah, Audrey, and I could not stop “oooing” and “ahhhing.”
At kilometer 14, we were met with disappointment. Crestones Base Camp was not there. Tired and hungry, we continued onward for another half of a kilometer and eventually saw the camp in our sight. Collectively, Audrey, Hannah, and I agreed kilometer 14 was one of the worse simply because of how long it seemed to drag on for.
For as slow as I felt and seemed, Audrey and Hannah were always having to wait on me to catch up, our group average 25-30 minutes per kilometer. This meant we arrived to base camp at 12:45 pm. Pretty awesome for not really preparing for the hike!
Once at Crestones, we checked into our room and promptly put on more layers. The wind was strong and chilly. Crestones does not have ANY hot water or heat, so layering everything we brought and huddling under our provided blankets was our only option.
In our room, we ate our packed peanut butter sandwiches and snacks. Afterwards, the three of us went out to inquire about purchasing breakfast for tomorrow (we had only planned on dinner and changed our plans) and went to play Jenga. Audrey, Hannah, and I purchased our breakfast and played two rounds of Jenga before deciding we needed short naps. Audrey caught me curled up under my blankets like so.
While having an hour or so before dinner, the three of us got into Hannah’s bed and watched School of Rock before heading to the dining hall for a massive plate of chicken spaghetti. I tried my best to eat everything, but it didn’t happen. Notice we all have our winter hats on because Crestones was freezing!
After dinner, the three of us headed to bed at 7:30 pm because our day of hiking was going to begin at 2:00 am!
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