Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Sunday, May 12, 2013

"Trek" Day 2

Tuesday 3/4

Well, the conversation of the morning was about all the fowl around that had been up crowing ALL NIGHT LONG.  Seriously?  Yes. Roosters, Turkeys and who knows what else.  They set up an impressive racket for sure.

In anycase we were destined for a taxi ride, but hung out with the group as they loaded up and headed out.   (Thus the quotes around the title for this post!)

There's our taxi - parked up the street waiting for us.

They gave us a ride back to the B&B.  Since our luggage was still there, Bob was scheduled to drive down to our second night's destination to deliver the luggage, so it was a simple matter for us to hang out there and then ride with him.

And boy was that ever the right decision! The B&B is a gorgeous farm that we didn't really have any time to see or enjoy since every minute of our days during the workshops were either being active or recovering, so a quiet day there sounded great.

Just minutes after we pulled in Patsy apologized that we wouldn't be able to sit on the lanai for awhile, because she invites a yoga instructor to come out once a week and lead a class - and that was scheduled to start in 10 minutes.  Yoga Class I said?  "Well, yes - would you like to join us?"  Heck yeah! 

Oh my! The exquisite pleasure of a relaxing yoga class out on the breezy lanai, watching the humming birds and butterflies feeding off the flowering shrubs, the intense guava aroma from the fruit knocked down by the storm a few days ago filtering around us, and the beautiful birds that came to perch, seemingly watching to see what the silly humans were doing. Wow - what would I have paid for that experience! Turns out it was $4 to drop in.  And the timing could not have been better - I was sorely (pun intended) in need of a change of pace.

An hour later with a new outlook on the day, we took a little tour of the place, down to the pool and around the pond. 

<< Mangoes!

But it was noticeably hotter down the hill, so we returned to the house where the furniture was replaced on the lanai and we settled in.  :-D 

My new toy for this trip was a Bluetooth travel keyboard for my phone.  I love it!  I was able to work on this blog several times on the trip.  (and posting, now, I'm really happy to have notes taken in the midst of the action because I've already forgotten things!)

So we had a beautiful morning, then another great lunch that Patsy just pulled out of the fridge - Bob and Patsy used to own a vegetarian restaurant (ah HA!) and this day in particular we had their Cashew - Tomato soup which was one of their customer's favorites.  Well, yeah, sign us up on that list too!

Early afternoon we loaded up the truck for the couple hour drive to Mastatal with Bob, who kept us well entertained all the way.

It was a fairly rough road, yet is one of the "highways" going to this area.  The valleys continue to be so steep that they are hard to take photos of -particularly from the bouncy back seat of the truck.

Kind of rainy today, but no one is complaining about the cooler temperatures!

 This is the curious fence building technique we saw everywhere - barbed wire is stretched between posts.  But in the meantime the locals cut off branches and what not to plant in between the posts.. and darned if they don't take root and start growing!  So the posts get closer and closer together.  Liz said she'd never seen just a solid wall of growing posts, but she had seen them sort of ridiculously narrow so that the wire becomes almost superfluous.

It's funny to drive past many roadside bars and restaurants, all of which have one of two competing brands of beer advertised:  Imperial, or Pilsen.  We eagerly accepted Bob's invitation to stop off at one for a beer .  The bar was tiny, but had 6 or 7 stools, and good (imperial) beer.

Above the coke machine you can see a example of one of their Ox Carts - one of the folk symbols of Costa Rica.  In fact Bob had mentioned that the roads for the most part are just paved ox cart trails - so they have no real plan about them but wander around the mountains.

Bananas (or possibly plantains).  We've been to the tropics many times before, and I'm certain have this picture elsewhere, but it still never fails to amaze me!

Yea!  Got a river shot.

Our destination was in the village of Mastatal, which as a community has really committed to the Ecotourism model.  Villas Mastatal is one of at least 2 sustainable farms that cater to visiting groups to come in and volunteer for a period of time during their travels.

This farm is run by Javier and Raquel.  Actually, reading their website I learned they are the 3rd generation to run it.  It came down through Raquel's family, but Javier has been instrumental in switching over to the sustainable farming model since they have done so only with in the past 6 years or so.  Before that it was just cattle grazing land, and before that a coffee plantation for decades.  The soil had been depleted ( hard to imagine in such a overtly fertile area!)  So they are working to build up the soil, implement sustainable agriculture techniques, and eventually become self sustaining.

Anyways, the main 'campus' is the most adorable thing ever.  Several bunk houses and a couple newer private cabanas, all linked by winding concrete pathways, provide lodging for quite a few people at once.  Toilets are fairly 'deluxe' latrines, which I have to admit do not smell what so ever despite them being placed right a midst the residences.  And showers!  (The cold water, indeed, was no longer much of a concern.)  In the center is the main building - mostly a large roof with spaces underneath, that include Javier and Raquel's residence as well as a moderately sized kitchen and a very long bench-lined set of tables where all the meals are had by the combined group.

We got the luggage unloaded and hauled it all down to the bunkhouse we were occupying... before learning that the bunk house wasn't big enough for our entire group.

So Dave and I had been put into one of the cabinas.   We moved our luggage again.  (no complaints here!)

Every bunk was equipped with mosquito netting.  Though actually I have to admit the bug population in general was much lower than I had anticipated.  Probably because this was the end of the dry season...   Never the less it was here I found the first tick on me ever.  But it was TINY - about the size of a sesame seed.

This is the view out our cabina window: back towards the classroom - this group of volunteers from the University of Minnesota was getting a Spanish lesson that afternoon.  We listened in for awhile.

As it turns out we were there only half an hour or so when the riders started filtering in from their walk from the horse's pasture.  True to Liz's plan they made it in on schedule.  Though when asked how the ride was, I got the feeling people were all careful to say it was good... but long.  I thought it particularly funny when, at dinner, one person in the group asked where Dave and I had spent the night last night...   I was like - um, in the room next to you?  Oh RIGHT, she said - that was just this morning that we parted ways, huh?   LOL, sounds like it was a long day indeed!

The next day was to be the rest day of the trek, so we looked forward to spending two nights at the farm.

Not a bad view first thing in the morning!



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