Playgrounds

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Have you ever seen the picture of what people look like today climbing Mt. Everest? It’s bizarre to say the least. They’re packed like sardines on the mountainside.

They pay huge amounts of money to have a guide show them the ropes, so to speak. Why aren’t they out seeking new adventure? Why aren’t they climbing a mountain no one else has been on? Or at least, maybe just a few.

It’s called adventureverb [ no obj. ] dated-engage in hazardous and exciting activity, esp. the exploration of unknown territory: they had adventured into the forest.

Today people call adventure, paying a bunch of money to be babied along. WTF?

When it comes to adventure, most folks are just down right sissies. On my trip to Nicaragua last week, I scouted out a break, just because I was told I couldn’t do it. I had overheard a  local saying, “There’s a great break, good for a long board, you would love it.”  S,o I approached him and asked, how do you get there? His reply was, you have to hire a boat. I was told, he could drive there, but I couldn’t. Implying, I would never find it and couldn’t do the rough ride. He didn’t know, I was at Popoyo, Nicaragua, before there was ever a paved road, road signs, or a hotel. My first night there was spent in a barely started bungalow, with open windows and no doors. I think I paid ten bucks and thought that was outrageous. And it was.

I surfed Santana with six people in the water. It took me three border crossings, thirteen years ago to find it, but I found it. And each trip was high adventure.

I’ll never forget driving through butterflies. I was on the beach road to Salinas.The air was thick with them – small yellow butterflies – I’ll never see that again. Where did they go?

Needless to say, I drove to Playgrounds, as fast as any local could make it. I have some Nica knowledge in my travel repertoire. The 8 kilometer off the road, off the road, (I repeat that intentionally) trek through the woods was a hardship I had not expected. We climbed boulders in our Nissan Pathfinder. All of us were speechless.  Holding our breath that we didn’t have a flat tire.

A white horse ran in front of us. His leg was broke and it was hard to look at. Knowing there was no help for him, wild eyed, scared and in pain.

When we arrived at the ocean it gave me that feeling of climbing a mountain. If you’ve ever climbed you know. It’s anti-climatic. You get to the top, look around at the view, feel the feeling of, YES! I did it. Then you have to figure out how to get back down.

The wave was another half mile or so down the beach from where the trail ended. We would have had to walk away from our ride, abandoning it to whoever lurked, in the bushes. And that was not going to happen. So we turned around for the tortuous return trip, having not gotten to surf the wave.

But WE CLIMBED THE MOUNTAIN!

We got back to Popoyo and paddled out. I caught one nice overhead wave. I had to rely on my system for catching a wave there. I don’t want to compete with thirty people on the peak.

Heading home, I had a vision of myself, back at my home break. I was actually looking forward to surfing with the Witch’s Rock students, the CR Surf Adventure Company clients, Kelly’s Surf Shop pack. I get my waves.

But in the back of my mind, I know there’s Mexico.

One person’s fear is another person’s Playground.

When people say, you can’t drive to Playgrounds, they’re not communicating the truth. The truth is, you can drive there, but you probably don’t want to.  

 

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