Posted by: baropbop | March 22, 2010

Camping Trip- Part Deux

The next morning we woke. Had some breakfast and after an absurd amount of chit chatting (side note- having long winded conversation and never being in a hurry are important parts of the culture), the hottest part of the day was upon us, so naturally we began our hike up and over the ridge.

I almost died. The hill was so steep. No shade. Clay under feet. Sun beating down. I actually had to lay down at one point when I was maybe 10% of the way there. It was hot. Really hot. The hill was steep, really steep. Eventually, we made it into the cover of the jungle, which provides it’s own set of challenges. Most of the trees are covered in ants, so it’s best not to grab them when you slip on the permanently damp ground. I had more than one fall. One of which ended up with me in the river. It was brutal….mostly due to the heat and my fatness, but this hike would be a test for people of all skill levels.

After several hours of huffing and puffing, we eventually reached the camp spot. It was pure joy to get the even heavier completely saturated backpack off of me. We set up camp and it was incredible how quickly it all came together. There was a great deal of equipment already there, so we were pretty well established. Some of the equipment that had been brought up was so much heavier and so much bulkier than what I was carrying that I felt an equal amount of awe and embarrassment.

The next morning things got even tougher. Shoveling, throwing rocks, standing in the river with heavy equipment, etc is not exactly easy. But this would be the bulk of my day for the next 9 days. I now have a tan and I’ve lost at least 10 pounds even with the added muscle. We were joking that we were going to make our “Panama Extreme Adventure” into a work out video. The hard work was made a lot easier by the beautiful surroundings. I saw a white hawk, parrots, toucan, toad the size of a soccer ball, ufos, and many many other amazing birds.

I’m also one hundred percent serious when I say that I think I discovered a new species. As I was hiking up to the water fall by our camp i noticed a very rapidly moving creature that seemed to be following me in the water. I looked closer and it looked like a beta fish. The Front portion was a very bright blue color and the tail section was black. Then I looked a little closer and though it was a crawfish of some sort. It had claws and was about the same size. Then I looked a little closer and noticed that it’s tail was curled up….crawfish don’t do that….they also don’t have stingers on the end of their tails! So I discovered the first aquatic scorpion!!! Naturally i got out of there quickly.

One of the most amazing parts of the camp was the pristine nature of this artesian river. We did not have to purify or filter any of our water. You just drink straight from the river. I also must say that after soaking in it for a week my skin has never been in better condition, with the exception of my feet of course. Also there was a constant stream of fully intact white flowers flowing down the river. I’m not making this stuff up. It was ridiculous.



  1. I want a picture of the aquatic scorpion. You should catch one and eat it.

  2. Will,

    I can’t wait for your stories on about day 5 where you realize you’ve contracted Giardia.

    Oh, and Hotel Gran David, does it get any better than that?

  3. Was there ten days….never felt better. It’s artesian fed and we were pretty close to the source. Only one farm and no cattle up river from where we were. I don’t think I can express just how far in the middle of nowhere we were…Bear Grylls would cower in fear.

  4. Funny you mention him, my last few off trail exploration trips we’ve had to ask ourselves at each difficult climb or creek crossing, WWBD, what would Bear do? There was an episode where he came to Alabama. It was beyond ridiculous.

    The giardia thing reminds me of a water treatment design class I had to take in school. The prof was talking about being in the middle of no where at some pristine mountain stream. You get tempted to drink from the stream because there’s nothing around, no farms or anything. He squats as he tells the story then says, “Meanwhile upstream and around the bend, unbeknownst to you, is a bear standing in the middle of creek doing his business.” That mental image has cured me of the temptation.

  5. Awesome. No bears here. Largest animal around that area are jaguars and cats aren’t too typically too big on swimming. They do like to maul though.

  6. Not bad at all fellas and gaalls. Thanks.

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