Sunday, February 17, 2013

Parque Imposible: Adrenalin Junkies Only

My lovely ladies.
I couple of months ago Alex Girl and I were chatting about our El Salvador bucket lists. You know, all of the awesome activities and towns we have spent two years listening to other volunteers talk about. We ticked off all of the major places, La Palma, Perquin, Ataco, one last trip to Playa Tunco, she had visited my site, I was scheduled to visit her site, etc. We had done the museums, visited other volunteers, released baby sea turtles and hiked volcanoes. But there was one more big nagging place that we just could not let pass us by: Parque Imposible in Tacuba.

Getting ready for the jump!
This is a full day hike in the beautiful department of Ahuachapan. After getting up early and taking an hour long car ride into seemingly the middle of no where you get out and begin the hike. You start off in the middle of a coffee plantation and head down. It can be quite steep in parts but no one complains because you have not yet been told that you will have to climb back up this monstrous hill. Unfortunately, you notice, all of the coffee plants in the area seem to be dead. After asking the guide about it, he explains about the tragic fungus that has taken El Salvador's coffee harvest by the throat and refuses to let go. The harvest will be drastically less than it should be, cutting jobs and profit for the farmers. The government does nothing.

Eventually you reach a dried up river bed. You think, well this cannot be good and maybe I should have come in the rainy season. But on you walk, the guide not seeming to notice the lack of water. But before long you reach a small waterfall, maybe nine feet down from where you are standing. There are tall, rock walls on either side. The moment of truth has come, there is no turning back. Someone counts down from three. You close your eyes, every nerve in your body on edge because this is not natural. Everything in you says stay, but you hear the collective 'ONE', you let it all go and you jump off the ledge into the pool of water waiting for you at the bottom of the first waterfall.

Sara and Alex
As you hit the water below, your first reaction is 'I'm alive! I did it!'. Your second reaction is 'Shit this water is cold!' Your body is shaking you are so pumped full of adrenalin. All of your friends and hiking companions are jumping now, you begin to come down off of the adrenalin high. The group starts walking again. You come to the next waterfall, it is significantly higher than the first water fall. As you are standing there waiting your turn you remember the story of another volunteer who did this hike several years ago and hit some rocks on his way down breaking his jaw and a few ribs. Nope, you decide that was a terrible story to call to mind at that exact moment because it is your turn again. And so it goes for six more waterfalls, eight in total.

Me jumping again!
After the eighth jump, the guide informs you that it is time to start the hike back. You are mentally and physically exhausted and this hike back is 100% up hill. But there is no other option, all you want is your bed, and that waits for you at the top of this hill. Well that's where the car waits to take you back to your bed. If you are doing this hike as a Peace Corps Volunteer, the guide will go on and on about how much he loves the way PCVs speak Spanish. It is full of slang and we all have terrible Salvadoran accents. He loves it.

That is what you will experience should you ever find yourself in El Salvador, in Ahuachapan, in Tecuba, in Parque Impossible. I highly recommend it.

Drinks in Ataco!

We spent two nights in Tacuba at a cute little hostel. We cooked our own food, we played with the puppy that lived there and we walked through the fiestas that were happening in the town center. Sunday morning we got up and took the bus to Ataco. Oh how I love Ataco. We met up with another volunteer, Kara, and spent the day eating, drinking coffe and shopping. We went crazy that night and went out for drinks after dinner. We got hit on by a creepy guy offering us his home made coffee liquor. (Um no thanks...)  It was a great weekend, the kind you want to re-live again and a again.


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