Friday, November 2, 2007

A Week in Panama

First, let's set the stage with the theme song of our trip:

"Panama" by Van Halen

Crank the volume and play this video while you browse this post for the full experience.

Dave D. (a friend from NC), Maximus (MN), and I headed south for some warm water Panamanian paddling. We based out of a town called Boquete in the Chiriqui province. This is a sweet area up in the mountains that's surrounded by looming volcanoes. There is whitewater everywhere. Most of what we paddled was steep boulderbed with the occasional bedrock rapids. This was a guided trip so all transportation and logistics were taken care of. The downside was that we didn't get to do much of the full-on class V stuff that I would have liked to. We did a lot of real continuous IV and IV+ with the occasional V and it was really fun, the scenery is amazing, and booze is cheap! Travelling in Panama is super easy. Due to our country's influence and presence down there, english is spoken by most people. The infrastructure is among the best in Central America with a good system of roads, lots of which are paved. There is super easy access to lots of the whitewater, but there is plenty with harder access waiting to be explored!

The rivers we paddled were: Caldera, Cochea, Chiriquicito, Frijoles section of the Chiriqui, Caldera town section, and the Los Vios(will be referred to as LV).

One of the volcanoes.

Our shuttle vehicle.

Some boulder boogy in the jungle.

Coming around a bend to a huge waterfall.

Big awesome waterfall - you can see the top in the previous picture.

Andy gettin' some boof on.

Panamanian chess, or as they call it down there... "Drinking Game"

Boulder-filled riverbed on the Frijoles (Bean) section.

All rapids on the Frijoles are named after beans... Here's Finger Bean.

Go Left Go Right Bean.

Making our way down to the LV.

A fun warmup rapid on the LV called Quiet Time.

Andy at some hot springs that are along the river - that's a good feeling after 6 days of paddling.

Like God, we took our 7th day off to rest. We were all beat and had a good time checking out what we referred to as the monkey farm. It was actually an amazing animal sanctuary called Paradise Gardens. It was started by a british couple who house many rare birds, as well as monkeys, wild cats and other animals. They work with the ANAM, the National Authority for the Environment, by housing and caring for animals, some of which have come from a rough background. It's a truly amazing place!

An awesome jungle cat that has a really loud purr that sounds like a growl. Not your typical house cat, but it does interact with people.

Monkeys are my friends!

Monkey hat - I'm not afraid to use a monkey as a fashion accessory.

6 month old Howler.

This monkey is super friendly.

I did have a chance to make it to the canal after a fun night in Panama City.

A truly remarkable feat of engineering.

A ship in the Mira Flores Locks.


Alex said...

lol, nice monkey hat.

Rosie said...

I really loved being woken up by the howler monkeys when I was in the Costa Rican Rain Forest.

I'd like an alarm clock that sounds like that howler monkey call!

Yep I too love the hat. A live monkey hat should REALLY be warm :-)