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Day Eight of the Guanacaste trek

From a Journal posted on the Raleigh blog written on the Guanacaste trek, Costa Rica. I spent 19 days walking 270km and this is a taster of my experience there.

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Day Eight of the Guanacaste trek

Today was my day to take up the role of day leader, which I did with nervous anticipation. The first task was to allocate someone to have the map, and to pick two people to cook breakfast. Luckily by now many of us wanted to get used to map reading and there weren’t any disputes about whose turn it was to cook.

Everyone was feeling pretty good from the previous night spent at the ranger’s station where we had the luxury of our first shower in a week. We set off at 06:45 towards the town of Bijagua which took us 4 ½ hours including some tough hills, but we did well (and only went the wrong way once). The town itself was more developed than some of the other towns we had passed through and even had a bakery with really good pastries! After stopping for lunch, we decided to push on to a town called Zapote. It was hot and hard on the feet, but after getting past the mental challenge, it felt really good to lead the group. Keeping everyone in high spirits at the same time as keeping breaks short was difficult but we got to the town in good time and stayed together as a group. We worked as a team, all pulling our weight, so that any initial nervousness at being day leader soon disappeared.

The evening we spent in Zapote was one of the most amazing nights that I’ve had so far and very surreal. We turned up at a church to ask if there was anywhere to stay and it happened that we had wandered across some festivities. A local wedding was about to take place and the locals were kind enough to let us camp in the church after it was over. As we sat near the church watching the preparations some of us went to take a closer look and were then invited to the ceremony and reception. The church was a small room with simple decorations, blue benches and a modest altar. Half of the Alpha team piled into the back of the church and watched the ceremony from. Afterwards we were then invited next door to the and were given one of the best meals I’ve had over here, a dish of rice and beef piled high on the plate. For dessert we had something similar to rice pudding with pineapple. For me this was one of the best nights and topped off a challenging and rewarding day!

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