I’ve hiked for three hours, I’m *almost* at the top of a mountain in the jungle, and I have enough beads of sweat on my forehead to make a necklace – heck, open a jewelry store. How did I get here? Well, I started my morning on a more pleasant note, horseback riding at Ensanada Lodge. I didn’t have much experience with horses but had nonetheless been very excited, albeit a little nervous about galloping across the Costa Rican countryside. We rode through pasture and forest to a scenic viewpoint where the valley spread before us, eventually meeting up with the Pacific Ocean. When we turned to leave, the guides abandoned the trail, instead heading down a steep and gravelly bank with about as much sure footing as a slip-n-slide. My horse Muñeca, Spanish for Babydoll, was as cautious as I was, but once we cleared the seemingly perilous part of our journey I became more open to a little adventure, and she paralleled my enthusiasm. Before I knew it we were galloping full speed, the wind flowing through my hair like in a cheesy movie and my heart racing faster than Muñeca was running.

Our destination that evening, however, couldn’t be reached by horseback, or any sort of vehicle for that matter. To get to our lodging at the top of the mountain, we would have to climb our way up. After three hours, enough Gatorade to drown a horse, and over a thousand steps, we get to where I first left off. By this point you’d think we’d be dying, and believe me we were. The strange thing for me was that it didn’t seem to matter. As with the unnerving descent at Ensenada, an overwhelming sense of adventure pushed away the feelings of fear, or in this case, exhaustion. As we made our way up the jungle presented even more beautiful sights. The picture above is taken from the base of a waterfall at the bottom of the mountain. Later we would swim in its waters at the edge of the cliff. Despite the pain in my legs, I’d say I thoroughly enjoyed a little adventure.