Master Trooper

I’ve been jotting down things about our CR trip at the speed of lightning, lest I forget. In the midst of chronicling all those great adventures, I’ve forgotten to pen down one very important thing—our son. He was the best trooper amongst the three of us. His spirit for adventure has left us baffled. He definitely is way fitter than both his parents put together. He did better than his parents at the hikes, at the beach, and at the rainforest. This, for someone who is 2.

Achy, painful, tight, tingly muscles are familiar terms for anyone whose attempted anything remotely close to a fitness regimen. Well, that’s how it was after day one in CR. Mighty Joes embarked on the La Fortuna Cascada one afternoon—840 steep steps up and down. When we reached the entrance to the waterfall and took the first few steps, there were people walking back up panting the life out of themselves. Each one of them patted us on our backs and said, “All the best for the climb back up. You’ll take twice as long as any of us.” Up until then, we were pretty sure we could do it. But when a wave of sympathy washes over you, you begin to hunker. After taking the first few steps, I asked Vinod if we were doing the right thing since the incline was freakishly steep. Vinod checked with junior and he said, “let’s go for it guys.” I remember how wobbly my knees felt. Vinod carried Neil all the way down since the incline was way too steep for Neil to even attempt it. Once we reached the base of the waterfall, it didn’t seem quite that bad. It was heavenly to say the least. The water was chilly; perfect to soothe aches and jitters away. Our earth child of course couldn’t get enough of it. There was mud, water, and an insane amount of fish that wouldn’t budge no matter who got into the water. Not many times in life have I had the opportunity to hike down in a bathing suit and jump right into resplendence. This was one of those rare moments where we got to experience nature, naturally! The task of getting back up still remained.

Reluctantly, we left and began our ascent. Foot traffic was slow, so there was no added pressure from behind to keep up the pace. Even if we took turns and crawled on all fours, there was no way we could’ve have carried our trooper. We’d definitely have been toast.

Slowly we made progress. Goldfish, dried figs, water, and granola bars kept us company on our way up. We’d walk some, then stop so junior could munch, glug, dig, and squeal with delight at the million different sights and sounds that passed him by. 1/4th of the distance accomplished at relatively good speed and time. Neil was a blast though. He kept singing songs, leaning against Vinod and climbing up. A ranger, a few families, and a couple passed by panting, and couldn’t stop smiling at Elvis! We finally did manage to finish those last few steps and champion goes, “We did it!” The appropriate thing for us to have said at the end of the whole adventure was “You did it!” Hip, Hip, Hooray!

“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” Elizabeth Lawrence

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