Those were the last words emailed to the parents of Cody Roman Dial as he entered the famous and notorious Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula of south-western Costa Rica on the Pacific coast near the Panama border, July 10, 2014.
I am currently about 85% through the Kindle version of this memoir of the loss of Roman Dial’s son Cody Roman Dial here in Costa Rica the same year I moved here, 2014. It all happened in one of the wildest jungles in Central America, the kind with dangers that attract young men like Cody! From snakes & jaguars to illegal gold miners.
The book is The Adventurer’s Son by Roman Dial, the young man’s father, and it starts slow as a childhood biography of Cody helping you to love the adventurous boy as if you were his parent too. Then later he adds as many details as he had of Cody’s solo adventure hike from Mexico City to South America through Central America as an invincible-feeling 27 year old with enormous experience in the wild since his young childhood, most with his parents or sometimes with just the father, who is a lifetime adventurer, explorer, scientists, college professor and part-time explorer for National Geographic. The young man sort of had a reason to feel invincible in the wild. On his trek he climbed the highest mountain in Mexico, used his Spanish language to relate to locals, did an impossible off-trail hike through the jungles of El Peten, Guatemala and boated through the dangerous La Mosquitia Swamp in Honduras before coming to Costa Rica. All of the above were already amazing feats!
Because Corcovado National Park is one of my favorite places in Costa Rica that I have visited 3 times now, I was naturally quite interested in the story and the book.
I will not try to summarize the book or write a full review right now (I’m still reading it), here I give links to public information on the book (the above title link is to the Amazon.com source of the book). Below are three reviews. Plus I have added the reports of the father’s search by our local online newspaper Tico Times and some other news media reports below that. Lastly I have added links to the photo galleries of my three visits to this wilderness national park that took Cody’s life.
SEE ALSO: NPR Interview of Author: A Father Recounts His Search For The Son Who Vanished In Costa Rican Wilderness – There is a short written summary and a 37 minute audio at this link.
Images from News Articles
The True Story in Real Time by News Media
TICO TIMES CHRONOLOGICAL ARTICLES ON CODY ROMAN DIAL:
August 4, 2014 – Final search underway for US hiker missing in Corcovado National Park (That is “final” says the CR government agencies.) Not for the father!
September 17, 2014 – Father of missing hiker hopes to continue search in Panama
OTHER CHRONOLOGICAL NEWS ARTICLES ON CODY ROMAN DIAL:
May 23, 2016 – outsideonline.com, What Happened to Cody Dial? A New Discovery Raises More Questions
December 20, 2016 – Alaska News, Missing Alaska adventurer was killed by falling tree in Costa Rica, his father says
December 21, 2016 – reddit.com, Mystery Solved!
There are many more stories online about the mysterious disappearance of Cody Roman Dial and and the ultimate conclusion that he was struck by a tree in a storm and killed in the wilderness of Corcovado National Park, hiking off trail which is against the park rules and hiking without an official guide which is also against the park rules. Sometimes rules are for your own good, but a real adventurer doesn’t always think so.
The book and the live news stories are heartbreaking for parents (I empathize because I’ve lost a child), but this story shows the infrequent yet possible dangers in the wilderness that any adventurer knows are possible. I would personally have thought a poisonous snake more likely there, but even the less likely falling tree is possible, especially in the many storms there.
I remember backpacking solo on Fiery Gizzard Trail in TN with fewer dangers but real dangers anyway. Then one day in 2012 on just a day hike there I stumbled and fell on a rocky mountainous trail and was serious hurt requiring stitches in my head. Maybe a life of adventure is always a gamble to some degree, but many real adventurers feel they must continue the gamble! But, like with so many things for me, I tend to be a moderate, wanting adventure but with more caution than many require, especially the young invencibles!
And yes! I will continue to go to Corcovado National Park (see photos of my 3 visits linked below), but always I go with a guide on an official trail, as tame as that may seem to you Cody’s out there! 🙂 I am basically a risk-adverse adventurer! And yes, that is compromising the very meaning of “adventure,” but I’m an old man who is still alive and still having fun! 🙂
My Comparatively Tame Corcovado Adventures
2017 May 1-6 – Drake Bay, Corcovado, Aguila Lodge — At San Pedrillo Entrance on above map
2009 January Birding Tour of Costa Rica — At La Leona Entrance on above map
There are only two other entrances that I have not visited, Sirena & Rio Tigre, but may yet. No planned trips there this year but maybe I go again in 2021. 🙂
“Adventure is worthwhile.” -Aesop