20220213: Welcome to the Jungle
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20220213: Welcome to the Jungle

Sunday

Jake and I woke up around 9 to start prepping breakfast while letting Sergio and Mara sleep in. Our checkout was at 11 so we had some time to get everything ready to leave. We spent the morning up until 11 packing and cleaning and getting ready to go and made it out on time! We walked to the edge of Viejo San Juan to save on Uber costs (most of the streets in the city are one-ways and traffic can back up insanely at some points) and headed to the rental car office. We got there a bit early and therefore had to wait for our car. Fortunately for our groceries, we were able to wait in A/C. We got our car and hit the road! We couldn’t check into our Airbnb until after 3 so we decided to check out a short hike in El Yunque, the rainforest, first! Jake found this awesome PDF that has almost all you could ever want to know about El Yunque:
Our hike was an easy one, and it started slow, with Mara and I stopping pretty regularly to look at plants. It felt a bit like sensory overload, as I realized I have never been in a jungle quite like this before.
One of many beautiful palm leaves arching over the trail.
One of many beautiful palm leaves arching over the trail.
I felt like everywhere I looked were beautiful mosses, beautiful trees, and beautiful views. To add to that, it seemed like a jungle soundtrack was playing, it felt like a movie set in a way, like I was on a set for Jurassic Park or something!
Jake and Sergio on the path!
Jake and Sergio on the path!
It’s really hard to take photos of the rainforest broadly, because it feels like you can’t capture the richness and the depth of everything, but it’s so alive and vivid! There were so many fun tropical plants that Mara and I were having a blast identifying while Sergio and Jake would patiently wait for us (thanks guys!!! 🙂 )
Mara harvesting some moss.
Mara harvesting some moss.
The hike was more of a nature walk and wasn’t too strenuous or long, which was good for our first day and because we were on a time limit and wanted to get to the Airbnb at a reasonable time.
Look at the cute little remaining snail shell, I imagine it as a little hut for a small little forest creature to live in, on the edge of a mossy hill. For reference, the shell is tinier than my pinky finger nail!
Look at the cute little remaining snail shell, I imagine it as a little hut for a small little forest creature to live in, on the edge of a mossy hill. For reference, the shell is tinier than my pinky finger nail!
I couldn’t believe how much was happening at the ground level of the rainforest. It felt like you could move two feet and see an entirely different scene unfurling in front of you. It was so amazing and magical.
A fun mushroom! (He’s not the only “fun guy” in the photo!)
A fun mushroom! (He’s not the only “fun guy” in the photo!)
Our first view as we reached the end of the path was a bunch of people swimming and hanging out on the rocks. One group of people were playing music, and we were so confused as to why you would EVER listen to music in a rainforest when you have a built in natural soundtrack already!
SO. MUCH. GREENERY. There were a few groups of people hanging out on the rocks scattered across this part of the river, the end point of our first hike.
SO. MUCH. GREENERY. There were a few groups of people hanging out on the rocks scattered across this part of the river, the end point of our first hike.
Jake immediately got into the water and Sergio perched up on a rock (pictured below) and it was so cute to see them being adventurers while Mara and I did our own plant adventuring.
In the river valley.- notice Jake in the background using the waterfalls as jets!
In the river valley.- notice Jake in the background using the waterfalls as jets!
We didn’t spend a lot of time at the trail end due to the crowds and music, and scrambled up the river a bit to get away from the crowd and hang out for a bit.
The lush greenery seemingly glows in the sunlight.
The lush greenery seemingly glows in the sunlight.
We found a good smooth boulder to set our stuff on and got exploring. Sergio perched himself on a rock to meditate while Jake laid down to take a nap in the sunlight. Mara and I searched for fun rocks.
It almost doesn’t feel real looking at some of these scenes. The lush trees are so beautiful.
It almost doesn’t feel real looking at some of these scenes. The lush trees are so beautiful.
I guess I should mention that Mara was filling her empty water bottle with different mosses and plants that she was able to harvest from along the trail. She’s planning to bring them back and make a little Puerto Rican terrarium - you can transport plants but not soil back to the mainland, she looked it up ahead of time!
THE GREENERY NEVER STOPS BEING STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL!
THE GREENERY NEVER STOPS BEING STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL!
I’m not sure how long we hung out for at our spot, but it was heavenly. Sergio and Jake switched spots and Sergio took a quick snooze while Mara and I made our way to the shoreline to check out more plant life along the edge.
A cute tiny polka-dotted snail!
A cute tiny polka-dotted snail!
We were getting ready to leave when a bought of rain came through - I swear the moment was straight out of a movie or something, I couldn’t believe I was living it in real life, being in the middle of the jungle, in a river, while it’s raining. It was an incredible moment and so beautiful.
Part of the backyard of our Airbnb.
Part of the backyard of our Airbnb.
We got to the Airbnb at 4pm to check-in. Our host was so sweet and had the house laid out with color-coordinated bathrooms. We immediately worked on getting settled in, with the biggest priority being Wi-fi speeds. I was getting 80MB in the Airbnb which was awesome. Our host even let Sergio plug his ethernet cord into her router in their unit where they live (it’s a top/bottom duplex) and run it through a window and up to our unit. We then went grocery shopping and took the rest of the night easy, all enjoying showers after the less-than-ideal shower setup at our last place and eating frozen pizzas while watching Uncle Roger videos.
🌿20220214: Working Remotely Done Right