The Adventure of Finca Cascadas…and a Can of Worms


It took about six weeks to get everything arranged to get back out in this wild awesome country to dig deeper into this property, but of course life happens while we are busy doing other things and it took a while.  Right off the bat I must say that we were really pumped up for the trip this time.  The first go we had to look at this spectacular piece of property we were not prepared, but we were VERY prepared this time – at least as much as is possible in anticipation of ‘what might come’.  We had the day arranged for all five of us to be there (that in itself is not much short of miraculous, but then…considering…), and we had five horses ready for us to make the trek deep into the property.  The back packs were packed with snacks and water and tp and rain ponchos – we have entered the rainy season.  In fact, the forecast was 100% rain all week – but then at the last minute they changed it and opened up ‘our day’ to 70% chance.  Note: in Costa Rica you do not arrange plans on weather forecasts – you go in preparation for anything!  Otherwise you would never go anywhere, ‘cause it might rain anytime on any day (except maybe in dry season).  We left very early in the morning as it is a good hour and half to get out there.  However, somebody drank too much coffee and so we had more than a few stops along the way…ahem…but that’s ok, another ‘going with the flow’ reminder – literally (LOL).

The horses were ready when we got there and our guides were there, as was the man that had been appointed to show us the house that (theoretically) had recently opened up for rent…and he insisted that he ‘show’ us this house before we ride.  Um, ok – alright, let’s go see it.  But then there was a ‘hotter than a hornet’ woman inside that wouldn’t let us see it!  Wussup widdat?  I must say that this ‘house showing’ was not a good hard sell – we didn’t go back (it wasn’t ‘us’ anyway), pero muy curioso verdad.  Onward…

We crossed the river via the suspension footbridge to find our horses waiting patiently for us.  I chose the same sturdy little pinto yegua (mare) that I rode before, Mate chose his gelding – same one as before and the best one of the lot, Poncho (aka ‘Rookie’) was given a really nice, gentle and very big-hearted and stout yegua, and the guys had the other two horses – a big tough appaloosa gelding and a buckskin mare.  All of these horses are tough mountain horses and they proved themselves beyond any doubts by the end of the day.

When you return to a wild mountainous place (any place, actually) for the second time you are able to get a better look at it – take in more information and put more pieces together, see things you missed the first time.   I was able to see many more jungle flowers and incredibly huge trees and the way the road came in, the neighbor’s access point, the other neighbor’s property and just where the boundaries lie.  We entered into the familiar first open area and once again dreamed of it all cleaned and cleared (it hadn’t been chopped for a few years and the jungle moves right on in, muy rapido), the place where the grande cocina – big community kitchen – would be, with cabinas and gardens.  We moved on through to the pasture where the owner’s stud horses were running – we stopped and put them in the corral system so they would not harass all of our ‘pretty little fillies’, which they undoubtedly would – so we could freely move on through.  The goal today was to get to the cataratas – the waterfalls – and this would be the Adventure.  Nothing like an adventure in the most beautiful wilderness to change any stagnant mental channel, yeah?  Especially on a horse – even if you are not a horseman!  And one of our riders definitely qualified as a ‘rookie’, however he was game for the ride…and also very much in need of a new perspective – change his ‘channel’, so to speak.

There were actually six of us, one man on foot – a friend and helper of the owner.  His nickname: ‘The Incredible Hulk’.  Not a really big guy, but by day’s end we understood the nickname – he hiked the entire way to the cataratas and was there at the same time or very close to it, always staying right with us – unreal!  This is really steep hillsides and then walking through very thick jungle – clearing the way as we go.  Some or part of the trails were open, however for the most part it was rough, steep and thick – this man is not young, but he is extremely fit!  We had to pass through a couple of wire gates, which separated pastures for the horses and the cows (there are approximately fifteen cow/calf pairs there) – after we crossed the creek the cows were all in that pasture scattered around and the goal was to move them uphill and through the next gate to the next pasture.  The Hulk went on up the hill and opened the gate and Dueno (the owner) and Billy started gathering and moving the cows – we watched, until I saw they needed a blocker (I’ll do it!).  Wow, it has been a few years since I worked cattle, moving them by horse, and my little pinto was ready to help, she eagerly and easily did what I asked to keep the cattle from cutting back or going the wrong way.  How fun!  Alright, so now the group is where he wanted them (more or less), gate closed and we were climbing up the hill through the cow pasture on very steep, muddy and deep cow trails.

In this country the cows make trails through the clumps of pasture grass on the hillside which get traveled frequently and turn into mucky muddy deep trails.  The horses moved right on through, sinking in the mud up to their hocks, stepping over big rocks and fallen branches, making their way up the hill zig-zagging upwards…this hill is probably a 60% incline…making our way to a big stand of forest.  We moved into the forest onto a roughly chopped trail that climbed up along the side of the ravine where the water from the waterfalls flowed down below.  These trails were now not through pasture grass but through very thick forest, stepping over huge fallen branches buried in mud, around fallen giant trees, over and around lots of big rocks until we finally reached a spot to get off and tie the horses.  They were all huffing and puffing – what a climb!  They had to work really hard to carry us through all of that challenging terrain, but Hulk was there ahead of us – waiting.  We dismounted and tied the horses, they would have their break and so would we – packs in hand we climbed around the bend and up the hill to witness two of the most beautiful waterfalls!  An absolutely magic spot – deep breathe and suck it all in – fricken awesome!  I had a smile on my face the entire trip so far, but this was totally the frosting on the cake.   So we seated ourselves on the newly chopped hillside for a break and a meal (ok hormigas – ants – move over), in view of the majestic works of Gaia before us.  The air was crisp and clean and totally invigorating; the visual view was as good as they come; the sounds of the two huge waterfalls cascading down the steep cliff rocks and pounding down through the ravine below…such rejuvenation!  Total sensory: visual, sound, smell, emotion, spiritually opening/ expanding.

Unfortunately I had no camera, and my phone camera is not a familiar tool for me so fotos are on order from our compadre Billy, who is a seasoned phone photographer on horseback in the mountains – he snagged some great shots! (They will have to be a separate post, still waiting.)  He and the Dueno hiked down the hill to cross the water and head up to the waterfall; the Rookie headed down the hill to find a bathing hole complete with Jacuzzi; the Hulk went cross country and up the mountain tothe ridge top to look at the giant old growth Mother trees; and Mate and I relaxed by the horses and watched, totally absorbed, and languished in the energy of the magic flowing out of this portal.

After a most refreshing break, we climbed back on our steadfast durable and reliable mounts and headed back down the mountain…more or less.  First we headed up another hill to see a little bit more ‘beyond beyond’, much to the dismay of our rookie rider, but all in all it was not enough to get bothered about, the views and more complete overall picture of what we are possibly about to step into…absolutely stunning the vast scope of this place as it gazes into the Savegre Valley.

Incredibly awesome, yet in the magnificence there was also more to the story… what we were yet to learn.

We made our way back down the mountain, stopped in an incredible spring drainage for the horses to get a drink (and for us to see the spring water gushing out of the rocks), made it back to the car in one piece – albeit it more worn than appreciated by a few – yet all of us had been morphed in the experience for the better.  By comparison, what it would cost to find a place like this to visit and arrange the horses and the expert guides to take you there and allow you to languish in the awesomeness of Gaia at her finest!  Priceless, no debate (or excruciatingly expensive).

We had loaded up and were heading out of town when we met our ‘new neighbor’ on the road, and after introducing ourselves he promptly informed us that we had better do our homework because there were three very strong and threatening adversaries imposing upon not only the property we were strongly pulled into – but a lot of the private properties in that area.  There is a hydroelectric dam project – phase one and two – in the works for the entire Savegre watershed (we knew of this already); and a national park in the ‘potential’ (talk stages for years, apparently) developmental phase – which was new info.  All of the exploratory work for water levels along the rivers for the ‘what if this and that’ have been done…and this property is in a good place, although it is remotely possible that access may be solely by boat at some point in the future…however, the biggest adversary is the National Park scenario.  It is (remotely) possible that in the event that it is decreed by the country to designate any area (this one in particular) as a National Park, which means that certain private properties are subject to ‘eminent domain’ as part and parcel of the park, forevermore, with the blessings of a stipend of an insignificant amount – plus your walking papers.  To hell with living there and improvements – solly Chally!  You lose – everything.

And this is exactly what we are looking at…doing the homework and considering percentages and possibilities for losing everything – again.  This is what raises the question of: ‘Do we or do we not?’  We ARE doing the homework, but this country is very ‘evasive’ (perhaps better said as ‘scattered’ or not definitive, etc.) and getting to the bottom of anything is NOT easy.  Possibilities?  Mas o menos…dig deeply.

Seriously, this land called us to it…we floated into the loving embrace of an energy seldom experienced and were invited to stay.  And then the Adversary stepped in and yelled at us, reminding us of its endless presence and need to be in control…through fear and doubt.  As we gaze into this world we must truly ponder all things, yet feel deeply at this point in our own personal evolution to know ‘which way to go’.  Who and/or what do we have faith and trust in when we are called?  The truth is self-evident.  There are always plenty of interesting shit-disturbers that will jump into the mix to make it exciting, yeah?     And then, we have yet to make the leap of entering into the arena of accessibility – which is a very big issue, and so much more…ha ha.  Who(or what) will have the last laugh?

What a huge can of worms!  In the Light of the Goddess.

To be continued…


Author: Elena in the Jungle

Living a very simple reclusive and self sustaining life way out in the jungle with my husband, growing as much food and medicinal plants as possible, I find my freedom and sanctuary in the amazing and spectacular array of life that surrounds me, gifts of Gaia, most especially while traveling around on my horse.

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