Friday after school eight of us (seven missionaries and one local acting as our male representative) left behind the city and school papers in search of beauty and clean air. An hour and a half after boarding a bus, we found ourselves at our destination, a National Park.
The park was everything we could have dreamed it being! The only housing they had available was a cabin to accommodate a group of 20, but it was well worth it for only $7. Because there were so many beds, we all claimed top bunks! The room was clean with beds complete with sheets and pillows, three sinks, flushing toilets, and showers with good water pressure and warm water! I didn't take into account the air being cooler at a higher elevation (silly me), so I didn't bring a sweater and actually experienced the feeling of being cold! We arrived when it was dark, so we couldn't see around us, but it was enough to know that we were surrounded by trees, green vegetation, and clean air!
Sabbath morning we ate breakfast in their cute little dining hall, which had a view overlooking the lake and mountains. We were told to be there at 7:00, but the food wasn't actually ready until 7:40 (we should have known). It was a "typical breakfast,"so I was told, which I found to be scrumptious: beans, scrambled eggs, plantains, tortillas, and cheese. I was just thankful it was vegetarian, since I don't think many vegetarians exist out here.
We spent the rest of the morning hiking around to three different waterfalls and up a mountain to a cloud forest with our guide, a short man of pure muscle. I'm fairly certain our guide could have run up and down those mountains all day without stopping! I also had the feeling he was laughing at us the whole time, because we were so excited about everything and couldn't hike very long or fast without needing a break or two. The waterfalls were amazing! The whole hike took around 5 hours mainly because we swam each opportunity we got at the waterfalls! Since it felt like 100% humidity, the water felt so good and clean!
The whole hike I felt like I was walking in a dream. The closest thing I had ever experienced to jungle had been an exhibit at the Omaha Zoo, so it felt unreal to walk around in one all day! Unfortunately, the only wild life I saw were a few birds, butterflies, and a lizard. Our guide tried to point out some sort of wild chicken, but I was in the back. We pulled back into Comayagua that same day on the bus before dark around 4:00.
The bus system itself was an adventure. I had never even been on a bus in the States! The bus we took from Comayagua was fairly nice and resembled a Greyhound. The bus we took back, however, was completely different. It looked like a beat up school bus with two different types of seats inside and a duct-taped windshield. I also found that once a bus stops at a station, you're supposed to move quickly to get on. I was just standing up when I heard Sasha ask, "Whose bag was that?". I looked up to see a short man taking off towards the bus with my backpack slung across his shoulder. I quickly ran to retrieve it, even though I'm sure he meant no harm by it. He just wanted me to hurry.
Overall, it was a good break from the city that we all needed. We're looking forward to our next opportunity to do it again!