Under a bruised black sky, excitement has turned to fear trying to stay on the trail to Base Camp for dinner. Finding a flashlit sign saying ‘River Trail’, I hesitate, “Oops. Better go back. Start again.” The flashlight illuminates the sign ‘Sky Trail’ next.
“Damn it. That goes to the zip line,” B.’s irritated. “We can’t take that.” Retrace our steps again. Then, a closed but unlocked gate looms ahead of us. It leads to the river ford. We see the lights of Base Camp, but can’t cross there, either. A storm has turned the ford into a dangerous rage. We’re getting discouraged.
I’m nervous, “maybe we should try to find our way back to the treehouse?’
“Nah, we’ll find it.” Bob snickers, “I’ll lead, you haven’t made a right turn yet.”
“Oh, come on. I’ve gotten at least one,” but he’s got the only flashlight that works. I concede and follow in relief.
We finally find our way and our host Erica apologizes, ”I’m sorry I haven’t had time to put out signs showing the way back.” They obviously don’t have many dinner guests. I reciprocate, “I should’ve kept track of where I was going. The trail was tricky and slippery, I paid more attention to my feet.”
Bob pipes in, “It was too dark to follow anything.”
We sit down to ‘comida tipica’ with Erica and Matt. The most inspiring part of the meal is the conversation. This bright young couple explains their entry into their treetop paradise this way:
Erica had wondered out loud if friends or other people might be interested in building a treehouse there, and “wouldn’t it be cool if we could build ziplines to go back and forth between people’s houses, kind of like the Ewok village in Return of the Jedi?” Finca Bellavista is now an eco-development where people can live out their dreams and their treetop fantasies in a place like no other on earth. “We like to think it’s off the ground, off the grid and out of this world.”
We agree with the first two but hope to God the third isn’t true. We still have to find our way back to Treehouse Mis Ojos. Taking our time and remembering that the signs are “on our side” on the return, we make it home safe and fall into our romantic aerie.
At dawn’s first light we awake to the booming calls of the howler monkeys marking their breakfast territories, and surprise a white rat scurrying across the outside of the screen. In the kitchen to make coffee we see what its been up to. All the candles, our only source of light, are chewed into little pieces and strewn everywhere. We hadn’t expected to be sharing the inside of our nest.
After a cursory clean up we take our breakfast on the balcony as the sun glitters diamonds, penetrating the billowing mist above the falls. The birds call good morning flying through the shocking blue iridescence of dozens of morpho butterflies. We’re startled from our reverie by something huge flying through the air. Is it a bird, a plane? No, it’s SuperMatt on his zipline. “Hey, good morning!” he yells landing on a platform nearby. “Just on my morning rounds. I see you found your way home last night.”
“It would have been a lot faster your way.”
“Will you be having any meals at Base Camp today?”
“No thanks, think we’ll finish up what we can find in the cooler.” I pipe up quickly.
B. nods, “Who would want to leave this paradise? Well just hang here in the trees.”