The hike that never ends

Published: January 28th 2005EDIT THIS ENTRY

La CatarataLa CatarataLa Catarata

Waterfall in La Amistad park
My word I am so exhausted right now I can scarcely stay sitting up! Yesterday morning Maayan and I took the bus to David and then to Cerro Punta. We quickly realized that we had been missing out on the more beautiful side of the volcano by staying the whole week in Boquete, because Cerro Punta is truly beautiful. It is really hilly and full of neatly manicured little farms and Swiss-style houses, with tons and tons of flowers and streams and waterfalls all over. I wasn't feeling all that great so Maayan took off in search of info once we arrived and found out that there was accommodation available inside the Parque Internacional La Amistad and arranged a taxi to get us there. We hiked the waterfall trail in about two hours and settled into the lodge which was huge and equipped for about 15 people but there were only 3 of us there. It was actually really nice; the park ranger dude brought us firewood for the fireplace and the kitchen was fully equipped so we actually got to cook a meal instead of sticking to our sandwich style meals that we had stocked up on.

This morning
Plant lifePlant lifePlant life

In Parque Internacional de La Amistad
we decided to forego taking the taxi with Isabelle from the PILA to the start of the trailhead in Parque Nacional Volcan Baru for the Sendero Los Quetzales because everyone we had talked to said that the trail only took about 3 hours. It was actually a really pleasant walk from the La Amistad park back into Cerro Punta and we took a 5 minute bus ride to the start of the Volcan Baru park. However, we were a little confused after about an hour and a half of straight uphill climbing why everyone said that the trail was "mostly all downhill". Turns out that we weren't even on the trail yet, this was all a precursor. So basically we hiked 4 miles up to the top of the volcano before we even started the trail. At any rate it was worth it because the view was fabulous, there were tons of gorgeous hummingbirds up top, and I got a 60 minute lesson on the history of Israel and the Palestinian conflict on the way.

So we start off on the trail which is absolutely beautiful and about an hour before we figure we are to the trail's end,
Cerro Punta from the Respingo lookout pointCerro Punta from the Respingo lookout pointCerro Punta from the Respingo lookout point

Only took 4 hours of hiking to be able to get this shot...
it starts to rain. Now, the whole area is enshrouded in mist anyway so it is always pretty damp, but now we had full on rain. The trail was really muddy and there were quite a few close calls, particularly crossing the rivers on skinny little logs with my horrible sense of balance. But really it was worth it all because it was a very beautiful hike and I felt like I was in the middle of a National Geographic movie. When we got to the end of the trail, however, my mood started to get a little less optimistic when we saw a sign that we had to walk another 3 km to the rain. So we hack it out and finally get to a road, where we see a sign for Boquete 4 km. What??? So then we start down the road in the rain. Long story short we ended up hiking over 20 km and were drenched and it is not very warm at that altitude so we were freezing. Luckily our clothes in the backpacks were still dry so I changed when we finally arrived at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere and a pickup came along about 20 minutes later and drove us another 30 minutes back to Boquete. Whoever makes up those mileage signs should be shot.

So now I should sleep REALLY well tonight; I have never been so happy for a hot shower in my life. It took me about 3 hours to really warm up, but after that and a nice dinner at a Mexican restaurant, I am ready for bed. And tomorrow I am finally leaving for Costa Rica. Adios Panama!


23rd July 2006

I hear ya
I spent the night at the top once in a storm that soaked through everything. It was funny reading about how cold you were, made me feel better...

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