I am the only one in the bus until that last station. The bus driver asks me:
“Do you visit somebody here?”
“No I am alone, camping …”
“Camping? Here? Alone? But it’s cold here and there is nothing but forest, you are not afraid?” He looks at me very shocked.“No, I’m not … hasta luego.” I get out and make my way into the rain forest.
It is just me and the animals out here (I know there are no dangerous ones here so I’m chilled about that part).
It gets foggy and dark. The cold clouds are rushing through the forest. As they do so, it suddenly gets pretty dark and it confuses me because I have the feeling that it is much later than it actually is.
I’m not sure wether to walk further or to put up my tent. Sun should go down soon, so I better find a spot to sleep. But somehow I don’t feel comfortable being alone deep in the foggy forest and knowing that in less than half an hour it will be completely dark around me (Hah, you don’t say Andreea!).
I walk further in hope to find a open space where I can sleep. I get more stressed, I keep walking … My 13 kg bag feels heavier and heavier on my back, I am exhausted …
Building up my tent, having a fruit and seeds meal and waiting for the night.
Slowly the daylight fades away, darkness is about to come. The birds stop singing. Total silence around me.
Somehow I don’t feel like I expected to feel. What did I even expected? I was always afraid of dark forests haha.
I feel lonely. Not the nice kind of lonely. My mind is playing me tricks and I try to control my thoughts rather let them control me.
It’s totally dark. Nothing to do. I try to sleep. I can’t. I’m laying and trying to deal with the total silence and my thoughts. I start meditating. I fall into this state where I am totally calm and almost with no thoughts.
Crazy sounds and birds fly over my tent, I hear steps and I’m totally out of this blissful state and I am afraid. I start singing mantras to calm myself; and do so for the whole night.
So basically I was just laying in my tent and singing mantras all night — besides the crazy dreams I had which felt so ridiculously real and woke me up couple of times! It’s a nice feeling being able to successfully control your fears but either way … I wished not to be there in that night.
Daylight! Birds start to sing again. I open my tent. Foggy and everything sooo wet. I feel totally exhausted after this night. I lay down for another hour and start to pack my stuff. I eat an orange and start hiking again.
I walk and walk, the road is moody and water is dropping down from the trees. My bag is just too heavy to hike this road. I feel uncomfortable and I have almost no water to drink.
Distance to the next village: ???. No signal. I have no freakin’ idea where I am. Maybe my boyfriend was right by telling my to take a compass with me.
I reach a intersection of roads. Not marked.
Great … FUCK! RIGHT OR LEFT? Hmmm …
I don’t want this anymore. Can somebody get me out pls? No!
Ok Andreea, you can do this! Go left.
Big road, caves and magical trees. (Pretty nice but nothing could brighten up my mood …)Ok maybe it’s the right way. Keep walking.
3 hours later
The main road! Woah! Holy shit … I’ll keep walking here, at least here I am safe and some cars may pass by so I can ask somebody to take me to the next village.
I walk and walk, it’s cold, I wear only a shirt because I’m sweating like hell. My back hurts and I’m thirsty. I have just very little water im my bottle. I didn’t even brush my teeth this morning just to save water.
Sounds like a good hike what? Hahah
As I’m walking down the road 3 cars passed by … but in the wrong direction. So I keep walking. After couple hours and 10 more km I reach a hostel in the mountains. I stop there to rest and charge my phone. What should I do? Check in there and stay for the night? And what then? The morning after? I’m too tired to continue hiking here and the dark foggy atmosphere is pushing me down. Oh boy.
I was sitting there for 3h. I wanted to take the bus to the city but the next one was in 5h. I want to go to the city NOW.
Then a couple went by and I thought ‘Hey, let’s just ask them if they are going to the main city.’
“Sorry guys, are you going to Santa Cruz?”
They look to each other, look back to me (I was sitting there totally sweaty, tired and with a big bag.)
.. “Ehm, yeah ?…”
“Wait, where are you from?” I ask them.
“Oh, pai si eu sint tot din Romania.” I told them. Meaning I’m also one of them.
“Oh sure get in.” YES!
I was so happy about that ride. They asked me where I’ve been and what I did up in the mountains. When I told them I was camping there they said I’m crazy.
They drove me to the bus station in Santa Cruz where I took the bus to El Medano and checked in at the hostel I was sleeping the first night. Having a good rest, food and a warm shower. How good.
LITERALLY EVERYTHING hurt. I could barely walk.
30 km hike not 60 km as planned and only one night not 4–5 as I imagined to stay but I’m totally fine with that. (How did I even think to do this COUPLE of days???) I am proud of myself that I faced my fears and also that I made it through the night without crying like a baby, hahah.
Side note: There was a guy I was writing with through Couch Surfing and he did the same trail, we actually wanted to meet but I went one day later into the forests to start my hike. After my first night when I arrived in the hostel I got a message from him telling me that he interrupted his hike because his first night was a nightmare … too cold and scary in that forest. So this somehow made me feel good because I was not the only one without balls (obviously). :)))
Don’t go camping alone in a rain forest after a party weekend. Don’t go camping alone in a forest if you’re afraid of dark forests. Don’t go camping alone where there is no signal …
if you plan to go camping alone keep in mind:
(Just little reminder to myself — the only way I can handle my experience of that camping trip; Sarcasm ON)
- It can get very dark at night in a rain forest.
- It can be also creepy af there — and it will be for sure.
- You may need shit loads of water with you. If you don’t want to die, obviously.
- Try to walk couple of miles with the water without breaking your neck.
- Warm, waterproof clothes are also a good idea if you’re hiking in a RAIN forest.
- The compass is a useful invention for finding your way where there is no signal on your amazing smartphone with free internet Europe-wide.
- DON’T START THE HIKE LATE IN THE EVENING.
Last but not least:
- Take a friend with you! Not the imaginary one like mine was …
Hah, no, really — it was a great experience after all. It’s for sure not a activity for everyone (also not for me; I can say that now) but this rain forest is not dangerous, there are no dangerous animals so you are basically ALONE (that indeed is the scariest thing!).
My camping trip was definitely as creepy as it sounds in this post but just because I was still exhausted from the party weekend in Berlin and because of the bad weather on that day. I still can’t believe I did it … once is way enough.
You don’t necessarily have to stay over night there, but it’s a must see place on day time for sure!
I’ll keep camping on the beach, it’s more my environment.
Stay wild. Overcome your fears. Enjoy the ride.