Lather, rinse, repeat. A carbon copy start to the day from yesterday. An early morning foray through the hills to expel some puppy energy and see what kind of wildlife might come our way. An enjoyable wander to get the blood flowing.
We did a little online homework and resting afterwards before hitting the lake for another paddle. PJ went first while Oso and I played around on the shore. She headed back up onto the cove into the wind. By the time she came back around to trade off the board for the dog, the breeze had come up quite a bit.
I paddled across our little straight and made my way along the shoreline passing the ruins of an old swimming pool and diving board into the lake. When I came around the corner into the main body of Lake Arenal, a hard driving wind began pushing me back. I gave up and turned back but the current had switched and it was a tough paddle getting back home. A solid hour of hard work and good exercise.
Back at the casita, we got ourselves packed and prepared for a cruise up to La Fortuna to have a gander at the volcano and see how much the once small village has grown over the years since I came with the Takayamas to see the lava glow in the night. But first we got distracted by some toucans calling from the big tree out front.
They are a marvel to behold and we watched them move around the branches looking for something good to eat. After a spell, we loaded up the dog and hit the road that follows the lake, winding around the bends. It gets pretty narrow on a few areas and the dividing stripe disappeared soon after we left. PJ was our pilot and smoothly dodged oncoming traffic at the one car bridges and kept us out of the drop offs where a few sinkholes had undermined the shoulder.
A passel of pizotes were waiting for us around a bend as we began to get near the now plentiful spas and hot spring resorts. Their little noses were wiggling hoping for a hand out as they lined up at the car window giving us the sad eye. Oso didn’t know what to think. He stood quietly at his window observing the activity.
The Arenal volcano loomed large over the landscape as we drove over the dam. We pulled off at the end where the fruit cart is then drove up into the hills a few kilometers looking for an overlook. We came to an entrance for the national park but Oso wasn’t welcome and we were sent packing back down the rugged dirt track. We stopped at the stand back by the highway and PJ had her first Costa Rican granizado, the local answer to a Hawaiian shave ice, complete with powdered milk and condensed milk to top off the red flavored syrup.
It was just a few short miles further into the center of La Fortuna. The place has exploded. Tours, quads, zip lines and canopy tours are offered every few meters along the main road. A wide variety of lodging, dining and hot spring options ranging from budget back packer to lifestyles of the rich and famous. It was all a little much for us. We had a look around then headed back towards the casita.
Once on the outskirts of La Fortuna, we found a mellow little soda where we pulled in to get some lunch. Bongos had relaxed outdoor dining and Oso was welcomed warmly by the guy who ran the dining room. It was a welcome break after the driving and walking we’d been busying ourselves with.
We retraced our steps and pointed the car towards the grocery store in Nuevo Arenal. PJ took Oso for a walk around the church yard while I went in and stocked up on a few supplies. We timed things just right and she was pulling up to get me right as I stepped out of the store.
There was just enough time to put things away and head out for an evening stroll before the sun went down. It was such a nice day that we ate considering signing on for another night. We’ll see what tomorrow holds.