KT’s One Tree Hill Memories – #4 El Yunque Rain Forest
As you can tell, Puerto Rico was a pretty amazing trip, my last fond memory of it was a wonderful trip to The El Yunque Rain Forest with Sophia Bush. It was our last shooting day in PR and the company was filming nearby in the old town of Fajardo. We expected it to be a short day and our wrap party was planned for later in the evening. Sophia had wrapped the night before and only Shantel and Jellybean were working, so when Sophia had asked me the day before if I wanted to go to the rain forest, I didn’t see a reason why not, so around 2 or so we headed off for the El Yunque…
We had this really bright red Jeep Wrangler that we had taken the top off so we could get even more damaging sun rays on our skin. In the back seat, we had towels, water bottles and a change of clothes. We had been told that at the end of the trail in the rainforest is a waterfall and that our trip wouldn’t be complete unless we swam to it and stood under it. So we drove down the highway (Did I mention that PR drivers aren’t all that concerned about paying attention to staying in their own lanes? or that hundreds of iguanas were racing across the roads? unnerving!) So we pushed on and finally got to the country road that would take us up to the top of the mountain.
We arrived at our destination after driving up a particularly windy road and parked, unloaded all off our stuff and headed to the trail head. The path was paved and clearly marked, it was maybe 2 miles or so to the waterfall… it didn’t matter because the jungle was incredible, everywhere you looked was another miracle of nature. Sophia and I would stop in awe every 100 yards or so at another gorgeous view. We met very friendly locals and tourists along the way, all of them soaking wet… I couldn’t wait to see this waterfall and pool… soon we heard the water splashing and voices yelling out, into view was a most magnificent sight indeed!
I being a cautious person by nature was a little reluctant about jumping into this pool of water, first off all I’m always nervous about dark pools of water and how deep or shallow they are and those big boulders looked mighty slippery. Sophia handed me her camera and carefully packed her clothes into her backpack (we were wearing our bathing suits under our clothes) and waded in.
She dipped her head in and popped up with a shriek, “it’s cold!” Boy was that an understatement I was to find out, “get in here” she called to me. So, not really having a good reason not to and the fact that not only was Sophia swimming in the pool of water but so where 10 or so others, some of them kids… in I went, very slowly, up to my knees and had to stop at my thighs. Oh Lord was it cold, I mean freezing cold…
Sophia was laughing at me – she has the most beautiful smile – mesmerized, i thought to myself, “Damn the torpedoes!” and slid under the murky water. I am pretty sure that is the coldest water I had ever been in, maybe the Polar Plunge I had participated in was colder but not by much. I swam after Sophia who was headed to the water fall. Soon we were under it and I have to tell you that it was all worth it, having thousand of gallons of water pound down on you is exhilarating, it’s a game changer… I’ve never felt so alive, Sophia and I bopped under the pounding water, laughing like children and enjoying one of nature’s many gifts to the world to the fullest.
It’s always nice to pull off the major roads anywhere you travel and that goes for PR too. We drove through small villages, where houses were painted in every vivid color under the sun and small taverns and stores where the locals ate and shopped On the way home from the El Yunque rain forest we stopped and enjoyed a wonderful meal with the locals, Sophia was, of course, recognized here and even deep in the rain forest and at the waterfall and was very gracious and paused for every photo that was asked of her.