El Rio Caldera

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Central America Caribbean » Panama » Chiriquí » Boquete
December 10th 2015
Published: March 27th 2016
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The Rio Caldera is the main tributary that gathers the water from all the other rivers that flow down the surrounding mountains, in the region of Chiriqui. The City of Boquette is the center of this "horseshoe" of mountains and at the center of this valley is El Rio Caldera. Some of these rivers run through the city of Boquete before they reach El Rio Caldera. The Quebrada Bajo Grande flows down Volcan Baru, and has already been explored in this blog site. Others include Quebrada Cheche, Rio Pianista, Quebrada La Sumbona, Quebrada San Ramon, and Rio Palo Alto. Further downstream, as it flows into El Rio Chiriqui Nuevo, many others join this rushing mass of water, lined with rocks of all sizes. At one point El Rio Chiriqui Nuevo has been dammed for the production of electric power. The river forms a large lake behind the dam. Then El Rio Chiriqui Nuevo meets with other grand rivers, namely, El Rio Chorcha, between La Isla Boquita and La Isla Mono, into La Bahia de Los Muertos, then into the sea: into the Pacific Ocean.

My exploration Began by following the road adjacent to the appantment where I lived. It was early December, the October rain had stopped, and the gail force winds of November had seemed to be ending. I went further down the valley to the edge of town. There I found a suspension bridge ingeniously built by local indigenous people so they could reach the highlands of Jaramillo to the east. After crossing this bridge I found a primitive dirt road that lead to many indigenous peoples homes. These roads were very treacherous and prone to flooding and landslides. Along this route I met many people traveling the other direction or just passing me by as I stopped to take pictures from the many vistas I found. Finally I reached a high ridge where many many Coffee Plantations and Ex-Patiot homes were. This is where my journey seemed to end. The buildings, walls and tall trees seemed to block my views of what I wanted to see below. Coming back across the bridge, however, I still did not feel quite satisfied.

So, I followed the road further. The area had already become quite rural. I passed tiny horse stables and homes with chickens in every yard. There were massive stone formed fences between properties. The fences were bulit using fourty to one hunderd pound stones at the bottom and held together by heavy guage sheets of chicken wire, forming perfectly rectangular fences that were about eight to ten feet high. These stones are plentiful because this side of Chiriqui province is literally covered with them from the last time Volcan Baru exploded, six-hundred years ago. The street side of each property was lined with barbed wire. There were parts that could be climbed through, but with machetes being so common in Panama I dared not consider entering anyones property that way. I took my fotos using telescopic but the wind was causing motion that made video impossible. Finally, I found what looked like a possible entry. There was a stone fence that was so massive, and wide that I could cross it all the way to a very scenic point at the river's edge. I was very cautious, and watched for a long while. One side of the fence was wildly overgrown and would block my visibility from the property on the right. The farm building on the left was a great distance from the fence, and I saw no one outside the entire time that I watched. It was the best it could get, and I could not resist. I went over the wire, and onto the fence which was as solid as any bridge could be. I stayed low, and quiet, moving as fast as I could. I dropped down off of the fence and landed in cold mud that covered my feet up to my ankles. There was no river bank here. Fortunately, there were plenty of large rocks to step on to get me closer to the water. Some of them even lead into the river itself. Using a tripod for stability was impossible but I still could not resist, considering the risk I had taken to get there. I climbed out onto the rocks that lead partway into the roaring rapids. From there it looked like I was in the middle of the river with no boat! For me this was a great accomlishment. The way this site works I cannot upload these videos. I have to do what they call "hoasting". That is posting them on You-Tube and including the links below.

Please watch and enjoy.

Vete Lejos


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Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


From the RoadFrom the Road
From the Road

Private Property-No Sign needed- The machete is proof enough
Over the River and Into the TreesOver the River and Into the Trees
Over the River and Into the Trees

The river is low this time of year. After a long heavy rain these boulders that look like they weigh over 1000 pounds can be moved over 100 feet.

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