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Top of Mount Duff

Hiking Mount Duff

Mount Duff is the highest peak on the island of Mangareva in the Gambier Islands, French Polynesia. It has an elevation of 441 meters.  It also called Auorotini in the Mangarevan language.  But most everyone calls it Mt. Duff, much easier to pronounce.

We had wanted to hike Mt. Duff for several weeks, but were unable to due to weather.  Either there was a dark cloud cover over the top of the mountain or we had rain.  We were told to 2 days after it rains as the trails become very slippery, muddy, and impassable.  In the image below you cannot even see the top of Mount Duff.

Mount Duff on a Cloudy Day

Mount Duff on a Cloudy Day

Below you can see the top of the two mountains on a bright and clear day.

Two tallest mountains in Mangareva

Two tallest mountains in Mangareva

Hikers:  Sugar Shack (Matt & Christine); Agape (Josh, Rachel, Wilky), Halcyon (Andrew), Argo (Simone and Torsten) and a random little, fluffy dog.

Welcome Sign to Start Hike at Mount Duff

Welcome Sign to Start Hike at Mount Duff

It was a pretty stiff hike, straight up, through mud, pine needles and over fallen trees and rocks.  Our group of 2 teens and barely 30-year olds seemed to skip up the hill while I struggled a bit.  Lucky for me, one or two of them would hang back and wait with me as I caught my breath.

HALF WAY STOP

At the half way pint, Simone and Torsten picked some fresh pomplemouse for everyone.

Pit stop at half way point for a snack

Pit stop at half way point for a snack

Along the way we had gorgeous views.

View Mid-Way from Mount Duff

View Mid-Way from Mount Duff

View 3/4 of the way to the top Mount Duff

View 3/4 of the way to the top Mount Duff

Being at the top of the highest peak on the island was breathtaking!  It was well worth the effort to hike up the 441 meters.

Of course, the last 100 meters of the path narrowed down to 1 meter in width with dramatic drops on both sides – little nerve racking.

Top of Mount Duff

Top of Mount Duff

Must admit that I had a difficult time up and down, but I made it.  It was a huge accomplishment for all of us, but I was particularly proud of myself.

3 of our friends decided to stay at the top for a bit longer to enjoy the view.  Since I knew it would take me a lot longer to get down the mountain, Matt and I left first, then Josh, Tortsten and Simone followed 5 minutes behind us.  The three that stayed were privy to a gorgeous rainbow

Rachel and her beautiful rainbow

Rachel and her beautiful rainbow

Almost 6 miles, 14,570 steps and 116 floors climbed.

Kirimiro Tunnel

KIRIMIRO: A Gentle 6.7-mile walk

It was time to move our legs, so we gathered the troops and picked a trail.  For the first hike, we decided to hike the Tunnel trail called Kirimiro which is in the center of the island and takes you across to the other side of Mangareva.  With us today: Agape: Josh, Rachel and Wilky and Halcyon: John and Becca.

Start of Kirimiro Hike

Start of Kirimiro Hike

As you can see, we had some outstanding views along the way.

View from Kirimiro Hike

View from Kirimiro Hike

Our anchorage was pretty crowded with almost 30 boats squeezing in between the reefs.  It is pretty amazing to see so many boats in this tiny anchorage.  The bottom photo is a pearl farm just off a large reef.

View from Kirimiro Hike

View from Kirimiro Hike

We found the little tunnel (or bridge) which was a bit anti-climactic.

Kirimiro Tunnel

Kirimiro Tunnel

The coolest part of this hike was searching for fresh fruit.  Pomplemouse is abundant here and can be found on the side of the road.  It is a cross between a grapefruit and an orange.  We procured several coconuts, and avocados as well.

Coconut Hunting

Coconut Hunting

Matt found a huge stalk of bananas that we will share amongst 3 boats.  The top photo has Matt carrying it over his shoulder but that grew tiresome quickly so we took turns having two people carry it at a time.  The lower left corner photo has Wilky on Josh’s shoulders with a machete attached to a long stick.  They were attempting to get one avocado.  We didn’t get it.

Banana Hunting

Banana Hunting

The boys sharing the load of our bounty.

Sharing the load

Sharing the load

Overall it was a great day.  We walked 6.7 miles, 17,117 steps and 83 floors.  A super day to be outside.

Escapades with the Lembergers

The Lemberger Escapades

A jammed packed 3-day weekend full of frolicking under waterfalls, a zip line tour, beaches, parks, monkeys, and crazy escapades with our good friends John, Missy, and Carl.  They happened to visit over Costa Rica’s Independence weekend celebrations and during one of their biggest, organized labor strikes.

Most of the major cities have road blocks preventing passage to and from the main road.  It caused massive delays and problems for those traveling in the country.  They open the road blocks for 15 minutes every two hours.  Luckily, it only delayed our guests 75 minutes, but it still made it a 4.5 hour bus ride.

For those of you interested in reading about the strike: Costa Rica Shaken by rare and unruly unrest, labor strike, Celebrity Cruise Cancels Arrival due o Labor Strikes, & Local Publication: Tico Times Reports No End in Sight

Fortunately, Quepos decided to move forward with the Independence Day celebrations despite the strike.  Missy, Carl and I walked around town while Matt and John took luggage up to the apartment.

We caught the very electrifying Luz de la Noche (light of the night) parade where kids make all sorts of artwork then decorate them with lights.  If you look closely, you can see a giant ship, a marlin, a house, and many other creative designs.

Quepos Independence Day Night Parade

Quepos Independence Day Night Parade

MANUEL ANTONIO NATIONAL PARK

We got up early, made a light breakfast and headed to Manuel Antonio National Park. My nature loving friends had a field day with all of the local flora, fauna, and natural habitats.

Manuel Antonio Estates with John, Missy, Carl

Manuel Antonio Estates with John, Missy, Carl

Of course, the monkeys put on a fabulous show for all spectators. Their escapades were enjoyed by all!  If you look closely, the monkey in the lower left corner has a baby on nursing, we think she was only a few weeks old.  Also, check out the faces of John, Missy, and Carl as the monkey family approached them – pretty funny.

Monkey Madness at the Park

Monkey Madness at the Park

We even got to witness a thieving raccoon trying to steal some lunch.  That would be the photos below Matt and Missy showing off their coco logo (they didn’t steal that) 🙂

Coco Loco with Matt and Missy

Coco Loco with Matt and Missy

It was a big exercise day, we climbed 48 floors and walked 17,000 steps which is 7.1 miles.

ZIP LINING ESCAPADES

Carl talked us all into going on a zipline tour.  And not just any tour, but the longest zipline in Central America with El Santuario Canopy Adventure Tours.  Flying over 3.6 kilometers across 10 zip lines that are both above and through the tree canopies.  We ascended 14 tree platforms, climbed up airstairs, scrambled over 6 hanging bridges, and rappelled down a tree.

It was a fabulous adventure!  We were all impressed with all of their amazing safety measures, professional guides, and beauty of the entire experience.

Crazy air-stairs, bridges, and walkways built into the tree canopies.

Zipline Tours with airstairs, bridges, and more

Zipline Tours with airstairs, bridges, and more

After we all got suited up, we joined the other 18 people on our tour.  It sounds like a huge tour, but we only saw the other people at the water stops, otherwise it flowed really nicely.  Look carefully to see John, Missy, and Carl flying through the air.

Getting ready for our zipline tour

Getting ready for our zipline tour

A little craziness ensured.  Carl decided to go upside down on one zip.  Matt and Missy both needed to be hauled in on the longest zip – they focused on enjoying the scenery instead of tuck and roll 😊

Zipline Craziness

Zipline Craziness

The super cool thing about this tour is that we did not have to worry about anything, including stopping.  They have a proprietary mechanism that stops all participants at the platform.  Takes a lot of relief off of you when all you have to do is hold on and enjoy the ride.

LITTLE TOURISTY PICS

We always find time to take a few touristy photos.

John, Missy, and Carl around Quepos

John, Missy, and Carl around Quepos

BAHIA COCAL

We took another long walk to the small fishing village just outside town.  Then, we hopped on the ferry to Bahia Cocal and walked the beach.  It was a great hunting expedition for sea treasures.  Top photo with Lemberger’s in front of ferry dock.

Bahia Cocal and a Long Walk on the Beach

Bahia Cocal and a Long Walk on the Beach

Another full day of exercise with 51 floors climbed, and 12,120 steps walked or 4.8 miles total.

HIKE TO WATERFALL

We were hoping to send John, Missy and Carl on the Monkey Mangrove Tour with Chino, but because of the strike, the roads were closed.  So, plan B was a hike to the Manuel Antonio Estates waterfall.

Our gated community at Manuel Antonio Estates consists of 9 apartments and about 15 homes.  Each are independently owned and used as rental properties.

As you can see from the map below, the apartments are on the opposite side of the waterfall.  We walked up and down many steep streets before arriving at the end of the road.  We made a left at the large dirt pile and an immediate right at the first water run off which leads down to the “cascada” or waterfall.

Manuel Antonio Estates Property Waterfall

Manuel Antonio Estates Property Waterfall

We had the place to ourselves for the first hour and enjoyed frolicking in the refreshing water.

As we were about to leave, 3 people arrived and showed Carl and Missy a hidden ledge under the falls where you can stand and get the perfect photo.

Manuel Antonio Estates Waterfall Hike

Manuel Antonio Estates Waterfall Hike

On property, 83 floors, 11, 989 steps, 4.9 miles

There were these super cool walking palms that we saw on our zip line tour.  Our guide told us that the palm tree is constantly striving for sunlight.  They grow new roots in the direction of where they want to go and then let the back roots die off so they can move.

Walking Palms

Walking Palms

We had such an amazing time with John, Missy and Carl.  Wonderful stories made, lots of laughter shared, good food, and long-lasting memories.  It is desperately hard to put into words how much it meant to have them visit us in Costa Rica, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!