From Snow-capped Mountains to Jungle Exploration

February 17, 2020 – I am writing this from my little room, called “The Nook”, at Casa Isabel in Yelapa, Mexico. Three days ago I finished my Wilderness First Responder recertification in the North Cascades and drove home, arriving around midnight. Oh, and I passed the course. I can’t praise the people and facilities at North Cascades Institute and WFR instructor, Todd Curtis, enough. Both created a space for learning and positive connection. I feel rewarded for making the decision to do my training with them.

I spent the following day, Saturday, unpacking and repacking my Osprey carry-on/backpack, eating a fine crab supper with many of my favorite humans, and going to sleep early in order to get up and drive to the airport at 2 am to catch a couple of giant flying metal bullets to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, followed by three buses to Boca de Tomatlan, a water taxi to Yelapa and, last, a brief hike on semi-cobbled walking trail to Casa Isabel. This was the third water taxi I have been on between Yelapa and Puerto Vallarta and the water was the roughest I’ve felt. There was something soothing about the mariachi music coming out of a boom box at the back of the panga, and families with young kids sitting in front and behind me totally relaxed as the flat-bottomed boat dropped four or five feet down and smacking hard on the surface of the water. For several minutes I completely forgot about the rough water as a couple of humpback whales appeared off the starbord.

I fell asleep soon after getting settled in to my room and I slept for 11 hours to the sound of the waves gently (and sometimes not-so-gently) crashing against the rock and sand shore below the casa. Today was all about relaxation – a little yoga, a little nap, a little meditation… I shopped for food supplies for the week at two of the local markets. The well-appointed kitchen and comfortable eating area here at the casa face out to the ocean. It’s rough, but I’m confident I can get through a week of it. After a week of remote medical training in the wintery north, I am rewarding myself with a mix of some rejuvination for me and some exploration of this part of Banderas Bay.

This was the scene as I came upon it.
The view east from Playa Isabel.
The “streets” of Yelapa.
This was what happened just after I took the first photo. Pelicans!
The view looking west from Playa Isabel.
What a cutie!
An Orange-fronted Parakeet couple who live in the tree that covers most of Casa Isabel.

Written by

kyleenaustin

I am passionate about outdoor exploration. In the recent years I have discovered how much more I can experience from a kayak. I am a professional musician and own a dairy where we produce raw milk, butter and cheeses. My son tells me I have "too much on my plate". He is correct, but I wouldn't live life any other way.

4 thoughts on “From Snow-capped Mountains to Jungle Exploration

  1. Wow, you crazy woman. I just saw you at the Crab Fest Saturday and now you are in the middle of no-where! Crazy. I checked out your digs.. yes, are are in a very isolated area. It looks perfect to relaxation. ENJOY

  2. Oh my … another connection 🙂 Gerald and I used to spend our winters in Yelapa … and he even stayed at Casa Isabel one of the times he was there (before I met him). If you run into Rory Villars … please give him our best! Hugs!!!

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