Largato

Cerro Lagarto. 

For years I have been looking for an entrance to Cerro Lagarto, a name I first encountered when I was walking in the foothills of the Presidential Sierra hunting for clouds and mountain views.

 I spent lot of time studying Cerro Lagarto.

Apparently, when the maps of 1961 were created, it was completely concealed by a forest of thick clouds.. 

 

I was granted the rare opportunity to ride in a helicopter and observe its vast magnificence from above. 

I feel even more in love with the land after viewing it from above. 

I excitedly asked the pilot for the coordinates, and finally, I held in my hands the coordinates of Cerro Lagarto and with it, a route to the Presidential Sierra, the mountain range which was the home to the majority of Costa Rican waterfalls. 

 

The planning was exhausting.

I needed to find a way to enter the seemingly impenetrable jungle, carry safety equipment and find a professional team of repellers, something which I have been vigorously training for months. These tasks alone seemed almost impossible, even more difficult was finding a way to conquer  the intimidating canyons. Finally, I concluded that it was only possible to enter by descending a cliff generated by a small stream. 

 


I could not sleep at night.

My mind was spinning with euphoric thoughts of entering the canyons of the Presidential Sierra. Cartographic maps showed that the sierra was saturated in clouds, I had no idea what to expect. The mystery and adventure was calling to me.

 

"Those who enter never return. They say that the earth swallows them. "

 

 

The day arrived.

 

_ the expedition lasted three days _

 

We started walking at night under a torrential downpour; The lightning illuminated the road on which we walked. Cold and wet, we finally set up camp in the forest.  

 

Early in the morning, complications began.

It had not stopped raining all night, drowning away much of the teams motivation.   

The negativity began to conquer us, especially after a fast moving river stole a bag of food from us. We were beginning to have many doubts.

 

 

   
  
 
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    The rain clouded my view, it was difficult to navigate in the forest. Insects crawled across my skin, thorny vines pierced my skin like knives, and bloodsucking flies followed me for miles, leaving my back infested with bites. As we reached the highest point of the "mountain", a swarm of wasps thirsty for water circled us. We had to flee.       When we entered the canyon the stones were loose, and the weight of our packs made it difficult to balance and complicated to advance. We finally had to pull out the repelling equipment. Once the ropes were assembled, we began the descent.  The descent was successful and luckily the cliff was no longer an obstacle in our way.   

The rain clouded my view, it was difficult to navigate in the forest. Insects crawled across my skin, thorny vines pierced my skin like knives, and bloodsucking flies followed me for miles, leaving my back infested with bites. As we reached the highest point of the "mountain", a swarm of wasps thirsty for water circled us. We had to flee.  

 

When we entered the canyon the stones were loose, and the weight of our packs made it difficult to balance and complicated to advance. We finally had to pull out the repelling equipment. Once the ropes were assembled, we began the descent.

The descent was successful and luckily the cliff was no longer an obstacle in our way.

 


With every step that we took, more critters emerged to greet us. Ants hid in the palms, small snakes hid in trees and we encountered endless holes within the ground, something we assumed to be the homes of peccaries.

 

After descending the first cliff I found a plain in the canyon. The ground looked like a swamp and tapir tracks indicated that there was grass nearby and thankfully water, lots of water.

 

The thirst was unbearable. I prepared myself to go hunting for  the water, when, suddenly, I slipped and fell into a soft substance. It seemed to be a reddish quicksand.

 

Now it makes sense what Cascante had told me:

"-The one who seeks to search for Cerro Lagarto does not return. They say the earth swallows him into the throats of his cannons. "

 

Felipe ran to help me, and with his help i freed myself from the marsh trap.

And although the wasps refused to leave us alone…

 

I was safe.

 

Cascante had mentioned that the lands of Cerro Lagarto were owned by an aboriginal and that we had to be cautious not to enter the gorge.

We managed to overcome the marshes, the water traps and a forest of thorns.

 

The descent was so difficult that we had to leave the rope. We were forced to stay inside the canyon.

 

Thirsty for a little light and water, we pressed on until arriving at a river, where I celebrated the presence of pure crystalline water. In the deep parts of the river, the water was dark green, almost black, causing a reflection of the walls of the canyon.

The terrain was difficult.

A trap of slippery stones that extended for over a kilometer was the first challenge that we encountered.

 

Finally a waterfall came into view. It was surprisingly small, something that did not make much sense since it derived from a  river with a forceful flow. 

As we approached, In awe, I counted four consecutive waterfalls.

 Suddenly the most magnificent waterfall appeared. It stood about 60 meters high and in its pool there appeared to be a pyramid of rocks pointing toward Cerro Lagarto. A pool so deep that it turned black. The cataract also concealed a cave, home to thousands of birds that danced through the spray of the water; celebrating our arrival They had seemingly never been in the presence of a human before, as they curiously and fearlessly fluttered around us.