Mountains, Orchids, and Waterfalls

Trip Start Feb 19, 2005
Trip End Feb 27, 2005

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Flag of Panama  ,
Thursday, February 24, 2005

After a lazy morning on the beach, we headed back to San Felix to catch a bus to David accompanied by our new Minnesotan friend Eric who was also heading to David en route to Nicaragua. Eric was a valuable person to be travelling with, as he spoke Spanish. We could have figured things out on our own, but it was an added convenience.

In David, we parted ways and caught a bus to Guadelupe high in the mountains. The town (if you can even call it that) has a population of 1200 and is situated at an altitude of 2000m/6600ft above sea level. On arriving at our hotel, we loaded into a Landrover and headed up the mountain half an hour to reach our room for the night, a dome in the middle of the cloud forest. The dome is about 10 feet across and 8 feet tall, certainly not cramped. It also has three beds and one side which is completely transparent giving us an awe-inspiring view of the surrounding forest.

After settling in, we found a guide and went on a hike through the cloud forest. This hike required that we wear rubber boots as the trail was very muddy and we often waded through streams. Unfortunately, the boots were lacking in support and comfort, but we made do. The cloud forest itself was amazing. The trail we went on took us past three gorgeous waterfalls (Chris took lots of pictures) and introduced us to several forms of unique plant life. There was often bamboo growing along the trail, which was infinitely useful as handrails on some of the steep terrain. The trail maxed out at an altitude of 7300ft/2100m and we both noticed thinner air on the ascents.

After our hike, we headed into town for dinner and managed to hitch a ride with some guides on their way back to the main lodge. Turns out, the only place to eat in Guadelupe is our hotel and we enjoyed a very filling dinner of Hawaiian pizza.

After posting this, we will return to our dome by 4x4 and enjoy our night's sleep at 7500ft. We hope this will help prepare us for our hike to Boquete tomorrow and our ascent of Volcan Baru on Friday.
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