Birthday Celebration

This Friday was a Catholic holiday and David came home early on Thursday night for the long weekend. Saturday was my birthday, so we had a jammed pack weekend planned! What fun it was!!!!

Friday, we went with Iguana Mama tour to go canyoning. It was just David and me and our two guides, Carlos and Alberto. We drove from Cabarete up the mountain toward Moca to a small village, Arroyo Frio (Cold Stream). It was there that we met up with Alberto, got our wet suits, helmets and life jackets. Another 5 minute ride and we were at the river.
We had about a 5 minute hike down the hillside to the river and proceeded to walk along the riverbed. When it was deep enough, we would swim. At one point, we came to a place that we had to jump about 10 ft to get to the river below.
We eventually came to the waterfall, Magic Mushroom which was one of the two waterfalls that we were going to repel down. This waterfall was beautiful!! It is called the Magic Mushroom because the rock formation that the water flows over is a huge dome, like the top of a mushroom. We repelled down the waterfall….neither David nor I had repelled before, but it was really easy and fun. At the bottom of the “dome”, there was quite a drop to the pool of water below. So, we were instructed
to let go of our rope and fall back for the zip line part of the adventure. That took us across the pool of water to the other side. Once there, David and I swam over to the waterfall and rock formation to go under and be on the “inside looking out”.
We continued our hike through the water and came to the second waterfall to repel down. This was a little more tricky and Carlos, our guide had to tell us exactly where to put our feet. There was quite a large gap in the rock that the water was going over. We did it like pros, thanks to Carlos’s coaching!!!
Our final challenge was another 8 ft jump into the pool of water below. After we were down in the pool, Carlos asked if we wanted to jump from a higher point. I said sure! So, Carlos and I climbed up to the 20 ft jumping point and jumped! What a rush….it seemed like I was in the air forever dropping down!
Our weather down here is always hot and humid. Wouldn’t you know, that Friday was overcast and rainy? At some points, I felt like I was on some survivor show walking through the river, along the riverbed and repelling. After all of that fun, we had to climb out of the canyon! It was about a 25 minute hike straight up the h
illside. It looked way more challenging that it was but I was grateful that our guides took it slow.
We were treated to lunch at a Dominican restaurant. Our meal was a typical Dominican

meal of red beans and rice, black beans and rice, salad, avocado and fried chicken. It was such a fun day spent in a beautiful setting. A great birthday memory!
Saturday, was David’s fishing trip on the river. I went along for the ride but not to fish! Personally, I don’t enjoy fishing. Our guide was Freddy. His wife, Trisha, is American and has lived here for 18 years. She came along to meet me. Trisha runs a non-profit program to enable or empower young girls in the community. Plus, she has a few tours to offer the Barrick wives.

We were at La Boca…the mouth of the river that empties into the ocean. David and Freddy tossed a net to get some bait in the ocean and the river. Then, we all piled into a small boat and headed up the river. Unfortuna
tely, it wasn’t a good day for fishing because the river was so dirty from the rain the day before.
It was interesting talking to Trisha and Freddy. They told us about people fishing on the river…how, if they didn’t catch anything that day, they wouldn’t eat. Trisha told me how they used all of the palm trees. There are berries that grow on the palms that they feed to the pigs, the trunk is used for wood for the houses, the leaves are used for roofs and the green part between the trunk and the leaves is the heart of the palm, which can be eaten.
They shared that a Canadian woman smuggled water hyacinth into the country and put it in the river. Sadly, this plant is an invasive plant and takes over the open water areas. It has to be cut to maintain passageways through the river. If not, it will close off bodies of water. It was very peaceful on the river and again, the scenery was beautiful. The Dominican Republic is such a beautiful country.
Saturday night, we gathered at the Irish restaurant O’Shays with about 12 other Barrick families. It was Dave Mullin’s birthday as well, so we celebrated together. It was a lovely evening eating under the stars and enjoying the company of everyone. We are really blessed to have a great group of people here on the north shore!
So, birthday month is winding down…..I am counting the days until next year’s birthday!

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