Somoto Canyon, Revisited
You know when you have those places that just get to you...you visit them and they somehow just sort of take hold of you? Somoto Canyon has become that place for our family. If you remember Nick's thoughts from a few months ago, I think it's safe to say it made quite an impression on all of us.
Last weekend, we had our second annual trip to the canyon. We used the same tour guides from last year (of course!), and while our family knew what to expect, it was still a new adventure. We started the day before the crack of dawn at the embassy, and slept most of the way to Somoto. We arrived by 9:30 a.m., knowing the drill and ready and raring to go. Once the group was assembled, our cadre of 5 guides plus rode with us to the drop-off point.
We had the same hike through the woods to the water, with the amazing views of the water and into Honduras. Unlike last year, I did manage to lose a third of a toenail on the hike, but worth it for the overall experience. Within an hour after starting, we were lowering ourselves into the (sometimes) raging rapids for the first time. The water was much higher this year, giving us faster rides at times, but also a very pleasant and lengthier floating experience mid-canyon.
We floated, crawled, hugged the walls of slippery rock, swam, and jumped our way down the canyon. I can't say there weren't a few moments when I didn't feel a wee bit nervous. There were several times when I felt like the ledges were somehow narrower than last year, or just nearly non-existent.
Finally, at one point, I started to get a bit nervous. There was next to no toehold on one ledge. I had a guide nearby, but he was hanging on next to nothing, and so was I. Suddenly I looked at the wall, and realized this was one of life's defining moments: nothing mattered except what I did in the next few moments. No papers at work, no bills, no worries about anything else...my entire job was simply to hug the side of the canyon and know that my grip on the wall and the tenuous grip of my Tevas (which seemed so much more slippery than my falling apart shoes last year) on the one-inch toehold would magically keep me going.
It did...and I realized I need to remember that. When everything feels like it's falling apart, I need to remember the feeling of hugging a canyon wall and realizing that my life really is in my own hands and that it all will be okay. More to the point, the feeling of traversing the entire canyon and making it through relatively unscathed. Or more satisfying? Watching my kids traverse the canyon, jump, freeze, cling to walls, be carefully slung over the back of the ever-watchful guides when the rapids are too much for their little legs, and after walking several kilometers through all kinds of terrain, hearing them say again and again, "When we come back here next year..." And maybe next year, Cait will finally make it? (To her credit, she really gave it a lot of though this year...)
And we will go back next year...Somoto has taken root in our hearts and just won't let go. To Brian, Francisco, Franklin, Henry and the rest of our guides and hosts, thank you. You have twice now given us such an amazing experience and we can't wait for the next adventure...(more photos coming soon...)