An Adventure in El Yunque

My whole life I’ve been rather adventurous. I grew up in a NW suburb or Chicago, but my family owns a large piece of land in Serena, Illinois. This area is full of hardwoods and open plains that I’ve been exploring my whole life alongside my siblings and cousins. From hunting and fishing to week long camping trips and making our own zipline, we’ve done it all on this special plot of land. The adventures I experienced there sparked my interest in traveling the world to discover the millions of other thrills that were out there just waiting for me. I’ve traveled a good amount with my family and friends, but every place is very unique in its own way. I’ve now added Puerto Rico to my list of adventures, and it has definitely been one of the best yet. I’ve really enjoyed every day here in on the island, and it’s difficult for me to pick out my favorite. However, the most unique and thrilling day had to be our hike through El Yunque, the only National Forest in the National Park system.
The day started off when we met for breakfast in the hotel lobby. We were served many native fruits such as mango and papaya which I really enjoyed. Soon after we began out descent down the mountain in search of the waterfalls that were said to run down the side of the nearest mountain. The terrain itself was not too challenging to maneuver around, but the slick rocks and mud led to many dangerous falls throughout the group. Only a mere ten or fifteen minutes into the hike, we began to hear a large waterfall. Once we reached the water it was a breathtaking view, as the water crashed among the rocks and rushed down the mountain. While the sight itself was very beautiful, there was nowhere to swim, so we moved on downstream to find a new water hole.
As we traveled across the rocks moving further downstream, it was a lot more dangerous than before. Each rock was a challenge in itself as they were slick from the recent rain. One wrong move could have led to a brutal injury in the middle of nowhere. As a group we helped each other over, through, and around each obstacle until we had finally found what we had been searching for, a calm pool of water. As we each began to jump in, the water was much colder than I had anticipated. Chills ran through my bones and I felt numb after a mere couple seconds as I swam through the clear water. It was rather easy to look past this though, as the scenic views around us were some of the most beautiful I had ever seen. Upstream there was a beautiful waterfall that fell into the area we swam in, providing our pool with fresh water. Above us were hundreds of trees of all shapes and sizes, providing us with some shade from the beating Puerto Rican sun.
Another aspect of the rain forest that puzzles me is the weather. One minute the sky can be bright blue without a cloud in sight, and just a couple minutes later it can be storming so badly you may think you were caught in a hurricane. This very situation occurred as we were enjoying our time swimming around the water hole. All of the sudden we heard some bustling wind and then soon after came an absolute downpour. We decided to stay in the water and wait out the quick storm, as it was like a scene out of a movie. It was freezing and my whole body was numb, but it was an adventure I may never get the opportunity to experience again.

One thought on “An Adventure in El Yunque

  1. This was by far my favorite day, jumping from rock to rock trying to avoid falling in the water reminded me of when I was a little kid whenever my brother and I went to the jungle gym by our house. I’m glad that someone got a picture of the large pool that we swam in. Sure, the water may have been 50 degrees but it was more about the experience. I think almost everyone left that day with some type of injury but they didn’t really mind; whether it be a broken finger, bruised shin, scraped elbow, the list goes on. Seeing the weather change as fast as it did was also very cool. I remember right before we left, we were all chilling out on the rocks eating sandwiches then just minutes later, we were running back up to the villa because it was down pouring! It was such an awesome day nonetheless.