Clarksville Academy - Promoting Academic Excellence, Moral Integrity, Physical Growth, and Civic Responsibility

Costa Rica – Day 4

Hard work should be rewarded at the end.

Today was probably, from an adventurous point of view, the highlight of the trip. In one day we did a canopy tour (zip line) of the rain forest, hiked down to the tallest waterfall in Costa Rica, rode horses through the rain forest and then relaxed at one of the most beautiful and most renowned hot springs in the world called Tabacon Hot Springs (definitely worth the google search).

Zip lining was created for many reasons and has been around for hundreds of years. Some believe it was first used by ancient and Native tribes to travel through very difficult terrain. Later, scientist decided to incorporate these methods of traveling to improve efficiency and effectiveness in their studies. Scientist used and still use this method to track the amazing creatures they have dedicated their lives to studying. It’s was also an effective way of transporting goods. Today it is an adventure that attracts millions of dollars to Costa Rica. Many businesses have created lines for people of all skill.
Our goal was to meet in the middle of intensity. Some extreme and some simple. To put things in perspective some lines are long, almost a half a mile long, and some are extremely fast allowing one to travel at speeds of fifty miles or more an hour. Technique is critical. So is courage.

Deep in the rain forest of the northern region of Costa Rica exists one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is called Arenal and it’s majestic and powerful beauty leaves all who are fortunate enough to see it in awe. When the skies are clear one can see the peak of the volcanoes expelling smoke. At night, If lucky and with clarity one might see lava seeping. Oh yeah! One more piece of information. The volcano heats the rivers with its thermo energy. More on this later.

La Fortuna, the fortunate one, is one of the tallest and most powerful waterfalls in Costa Rica. To reach the bottom of the waterfall one must march down a very steep mountain. 450 steps to be exact. Not so bad when one is counting the steps on the way down. The students were cautious with every step and knew that a tremendous reward waited for them at the bottom: the ability to jump in the freezing pool of this glorious waterfall. And indeed they did. In fact it was here that my students and I shared one of our most powerful moments but I will leave it up to them to share.

What goes down must go up. Funny how students think. At first the trek back up the mountain didn’t seem so bad. In fact, I think I heard some ask why I was climbing so slowly. Somewhere around step 250 my students understood why. The good thing was we only had 200 painful steps to go. And painful it was. I am proud to report we all made it back to the top, huffing, puffing, and perhaps with a few choice words.

Life is better when one establishes goals and rewards await. Through all the exhilarating, endurance filled and exhausting activities we accomplished today, we had to keep our eyes on the prize. Tabacon Hot springs. This is personally one of my favorite excursions. The students now know why.

The natural springs are heated by the energy of the volcano. Each spring is heated at a different temperature. I’m sure one could provide a scientific reason as to why and how, but usually when we arrive to Tabacon I am lost after the first word, welcome, in my imagination and desperate need to simply allow the beauty of each spring to take over. And take over they did. For over two hours my students, chaperones and I celebrated the day’s accomplishments by spoiling ourselves. Moving at our own pace and relaxing as much as needed in each spring.

If one were to ask my students about the greatest lesson of today’s busy agenda, I would have to assume it could be answered in one word: BALANCE. Hard work should be rewarded in the end.