This was quite a while ago. My memory has faded some, and it is a shame, but what is done is done.
My grandmother, Beckie ( known to us by the name of Nana), came to visit us in Guatemala. She only stayed for a week, but it was by far one of the busiest weeks I have experienced since living here.
She arrived on February 23. We hadn’t made it half-way through the week before we all decided that we needed out of the house. We needed to explore. What a delicious word that is: explore. As it were, Nana had broken her back a few years previous, on a cruise she had taken me on (I will have to share this story at some point). Thus, not much strenuous physical activity could be done. However, all of us excluding my sister, Jaqui, who was in school, managed to go hiking, in a somewhat local lowland jungle called “Cascadas”.
Now, to add some perspective, “local” extends a lot farther than it does in the states; it has to when the nearest grocery store is forty-five minutes away. So, technically, I suppose a two hour car ride into the mountains doesn’t count as “local”. The ride, however, was complete bliss. Ever since returning from the States after Christmas break, the climate has shifted into dry season, which means that temperatures rarely fall under 90ºF. Having the ability to ride into the mountains…
Something else that needs to be stated about living in Guatemala, is that you ride with the windows down, no exceptions but rain. I, for one, am one of those people who love having the wind in their face. I grew up going to the lake every weekend, and riding in my Nana’s boat, so anything that allows a steady breeze to smack me in the face is adored.
So, a two hour car ride, into the chilly mountains. Upon arriving, everything was green and lush, which was another sharp contrast to what the dry season had done to the land where I lived. It was absolutely beautiful. And at the entrance, we were informed that there was also the option of zip-lining. Unfortunately, we didn’t act upon the offer that day, though I believe we will at some point, if not tomorrow, even. At the entrance, we were also given walking sticks. I’ll let you in on a secret here: I may be one of the biggest nerds to ever grace the planet. So upon being handed a walking stick, I automatically had to quote “The Hobbit”, earning a defeated chuckle from my dad. “I’m going on an adventure!”
As promised, the walk was not difficult in the slightest. The views, though, were incredible. We came across several small waterfalls during the hike, finally ending in the mother-fall; the stone was a smooth black, and the crests of the water shone white against it. Near the basin, there were palm trees, with leaves bigger than my body. The way back led us through pine forests, some completely dead and wilting. Still stuck in my nerd brain, all I could note was how perfect it would be for the ending battle of a story.
We finally managed to find our way out, but then came across what appeared to be swings. Unfortunately, we weren’t sure whether or not they were free of use, so we didn’t swing on them. Until we reached the beginning.
A sign stood near the entrance, with a diagram on how to properly use the swings. The free swings. Of course, we all had to try it. It reminded me a bit of the Barn Swings, from my friend’s birthday party several years ago (another story that’s too good not to share). Basically, it was a piece of wood tied firmly to a thick cord that hung from a tree. There were two holes designated for the legs, separated by a thin string that hung down the middle. All one had to do was back up as far as possible, and then lift your feet…..
Only to go flying off the edge of a cliff. I can honestly say that I wasn’t expecting it. One moment, solid ground beneath me; the next, nothing. My dad wishes he would have recorded me; he says that my surprised shriek was enough to make someone laugh until crying. I have no doubt that it was.