The view of Mt. Hood from the north side is very different from the other sides. It is far steeper and much more technically challenging for climbers. Every year folks journey to the mountain for the adventure, and sadly, most years there are deaths. One of the most recent and highly covered tragedies by the news occurred in December 2006. Three experienced climbers attempted a route on the north face and became trapped high on the mountain in a horrible storm that produced wind gusts around 130 mph, five feet of deep snow, and temperatures below -40 degrees F. The story of their attempted survival and eventual death is chilling, and a reminder that when man takes on nature, if ego gets in the way, nature can be very unforgiving.
COSTA RICA DAY 3: WILDLIFE REFUGE AND WATERFALL
In the past tourists flocked to the Arenal Volcano region to witness the red flow of lava off the mountain in the evening. Sadly, two years ago the flows ended and the volcano now is not much more than a big-coned hill. Having our fill of the park yesterday, we split our time today between two places. The first was just down the hill from our Mountain Paradise Hotel, the Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge. Having only been opened for about four years, it’s still a work in progress. That said, we had a great guide who took us around the park and showed us all kinds of deadly snakes, frogs, crocodiles, birds, and plant life. Most of the animals were in cages, but the highlight was finding a red-eyed tree frog in the wild that our guide positioned on some leaves for great photographs!
Our second stop was the famous La Fortuna Waterfall. It is a major tourist attraction, mainly because it is a stunningly beautiful falls with multiple swimming holes. To reach it requires a brutal 600 meter trek down many very steep stairs, but it was worth the effort. I will definitely be posting photos in the weeks ahead as it was a great spot for some creative image-making! Needless to stay, the trek back out was even less fun than coming in.