The Weather in Our Neck of the Woods

Saturday, September 22, 2007

More Blessings and Adventures

Saturday Night, September 22, 2007

We just got back from our waterfall adventure, and all I can say is ….WOW!

We ended up being a group of 17. Well, kind of, we didn't exactly stay as a group. I will try to explain, but I will start by saying that I am exhausted! So forgive me if I don’t make sense!

We thought we would be able to drive the 4 wheel drive SUV quite near the chorro (waterfall), but the gate was locked, so we left it on the Pan Am. We thought we were going to the base of the chorro, but we were going to the top. Look at the photos to see why that might have been a problem for this chubby OLD gal! All that said, I did not make it very far before I realized if the group waited on me they would never reach the fall. I turned back determined to find a key and drive up the road to the top. It took 3 hours for me to do it, but I made it to the top in the Suzuki Jimny. The type of vehicle is important, because it is very narrow. I could not find the man with the key, so took the car through the horse/ walk gate. It was about 4 feet wide, and I had less than 6 inches to spare when I passed through.

I need to digress and say that Lynn, being the macho guy he is, went ahead with the group. I was worried sick about him climbing to the top. I could have just waited below, but felt strongly that he needed the car (and me because he speaks little Spanish and no-one in the group speaks English.) So I got to the top, and saw none of our group on the way, or once I got there. I needed to walk the last ¼ mile to the chorro. (I would not have been able to do so had two men not come by and given me directions, and helped me pass the car under an electric fence first –(this bears remembering for later). So, at the last fence, I began to walk along a small winding path. As I walked I thought I heard puppies yipping ahead of me. I continued forward trying to see them, only to realize they were in a tree about 10 yards from the path, and they weren’t puppies, they were baby monkeys. Just as I got them sighted I heard a deep howl from just ahead of me. It was their dad, I am sure. He was 10 feet in front of me in a tree bare of leaves. I could see him perfectly; eyes, tail, all his 2000 body parts (he wasn’t wearing clothes, even a g-string). He was hollering at me loud and clear. He wasn’t angry, but I am convinced he was trying to distract me from the babies. He was amazing, but I seem drawn to babies these days, so I continued trying to get glimpses of the little guys who were having a ball. They came in and out of view as they scampered, rolled and chattered. Several times I heard another big monkey very near them, but never saw her. (I believe that was mom trying to shush them) I did not have a camera. Ez took it with him when I stopped climbing. I stood enthralled for at least 10 minutes but was reminded of my purpose when thunder rolled across the sky. I traveled on. I reached the chorro and found… no-one. Oh, it was breathtaking, and amazing, but my people were not there. I knew the plan was to walk back up from the falls to a swimming hole, take a dip and eat our packed lunch, so I hiked into the forest further to find them. I did not go far before I became concerned that they had gone all the way through to another road, and would miss me completely, so I turned back. I knew they had to pass the first gate to get back down the mountain, so decided I should just wait there. I headed back to the car. Lynn must have been doing ok, because I did not find him on the side of the road on the way up, nor on the trail on top. The family of monkeys was gone from their play-tree by the time I passed back. When I returned to the car, I headed right back to the gates when I was suddenly stopped by the electric fence (the one the men had lifted for me to pass under). They had done so with the understanding that I would have the group with me when I returned. I did not have the group. A storm was upon me. I knew the group was somewhere, but had no idea where. They would not see me if they traveled another way back, and as far as I knew they had already headed down the mountain, and would be worried sick about me.

Now I want to tell you that I had already been praying, a lot! I kept praying as I tried to find a way to lift the wire and pass under at the same time. I tried finding tall limbs to hold up each side, but when I released one end it leaned and the other fell. I heard some commotion in the nearby trees as that happened, and looked up but saw nothing. I walked down the fence to the corner to see if I could separate the circuit and pass over it, but using only sticks, I could not budge it. When I realized this, I threw my hands up and slapped my thighs in frustration. Then I heard the noise in the trees again. It was a group of monkeys – they were laughing at me. Seriously. They laughed and laughed. I could not help but laugh too. It was pouring, I was good and stuck, and I was in the middle of true jungle land with monkeys laughing at my folly. I had been praying all along, and God sent monkeys to help me see more clearly the beauty around me in the midst of my frustration (and yes, a little fear). I went back to the car and tried different ways to lift the wire. At one point I had raised the wire on a slat of wood and was trying to balance the slat on top of the fence post. The wire slipped and fell onto my right hand. It was the strongest electric fence I have ever felt – and I have felt plenty. It knocked me on my rear 5 or 6 feet away. And yes, as I sat there on the ground my audience began to laugh again. They howledImage:PNM MantledHowler Christine.jpg with laughter for a full minute. I thanked God that I could still hear them and decided to be more careful with the powerful fence.

I got the fence up to about 4 feet and decided to try to get under it. It was raining heavily by now and very dark for 3 in the afternoon. I had the nose under the fence, but just did not have the fortitude to go on. I knew it would touch the car at about mid-windshield, and just did not know what to expect with such a strong current. I backed out, got out and as I approached one of the crates I had used to hold the fence up, it fell over. I jumped back not wanting to feel the fence again. The monkeys roared with laughter. I was quite a show for them. I laughed back, and then they laughed again, and I, then they, for several rounds. Then they just quit quite suddenly. I though it odd, but went back to the problem at hand. I actually had the thought, ‘what would MacGyver do?’ as I tried to think of how to get out of the mess I was in. I was soaked, so decided to get inside the car for a few minutes. I had also just noticed huge ant hills all around the car, so needed no further motivation. I sat for a minute, and decided to try again to disconnect the line at the other corner. I had heard nothing more from my audience, and was thinking how strange when I heard another noise. It almost sounded human. I suspected that this was why the monkeys had stopped playing with me. I began to look behind me, and finally I saw them coming toward me – MY GROUP!!!! Was I happy? I can’t begin to tell you! Lynn was at the end of the line, and I believe he was quite happy to see me too! Two of the guys lifted the fence and Lynn drove us under it to the other side.

With the youth group in front of us we slowly descended the mountain, thrilled with the day’s adventures, soaked to the bone and deeper, worn out beyond words (especially the old man who conquered the whole mountain, the chorro, and the walk up stream to the swimming hole, and all of that in Spanish!) They saw many monkeys, the biggest hornets nest Lynn has ever seen, a huge scorpion, views of the Pacific Ocean, and much more. Most importantly, the two youth groups (David and Riverside) got well acquainted and went down the mountain arm in arm, helping one another, sharing their food and drink, as good friends! Without all the excitement, the monkeys, the breathtaking scenery, it was well worth the trip just to see them begin the journey as practically strangers and end it as dear friends and comrades. Thank you Lord for your mercy, and your love that can bring us together in your name!

OK, I am now very ready for my bed. The hot water is not working anymore, so the hot shower is out. The bed sounds just fine!

We love you all, and are counting the days to see you again!

All because of Jesus!