Trip to Panama (September
Jungle Day 2: Hike up Cerro Pirre
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Here is a picture of the base camp where we started
(and spent the first and third night).
All the lumber is cut from local trees.
There is running (cold) water supplied by a nearby stream, which supplies
showers and toilets.
No electricity, except for a generator used from 6 - 8 pm each night.
The red roofed building in the foreground is where we ate meals.
The other red roofed building directly behind it is where we slept.
Carmen, pointing out slash marks on a tree made by
I'm not sure why she is smiling - I would be looking out for the jaguar.
The most exciting moment of the trip:
A few minutes after seeing the jaguar marks, the guide (Hernan) and his
were clearing the trail. (Both of them were armed with machetes,
also had a gun.) All of a sudden, They turned around running,
and Hernan is
shouting, "Arriba, arriba!" We all start running
It turns out they had just disturbed a wasp nest, and did not want to
At the lookout from the Cerro Pirre mountain camp.
We were told that there are no other people within 300 hectares (I think
that's a lot)
Hernan Arauz (the top birder in Panama) and Carmen.
Then Hernan gets 'attacked' by a walking stick bug.
Pete, Hernan, and Steve hot on the trail of a rare bird.
Or as Hernan calls rare birds found locally, a 'Darien Specialty'.
The camp on Cerro Pirre mountain. The
roofs are thatched,
and we slept in regular tents under the thatched roof covering.
Capuchin monkey on Cerro Pirre.
Vlad and other staff members coming down the muddy slope.
This was the rainy season, although we didn't see very much rain during
FYI: Hernan did carry a hammock -
just in case someone got injured
and needed to be carried down the mountain.
Carmen having fun.
See the light-colored mountain ridge in the background?
That is the border between Panama and Colombia.
The Pan-American Highway runs all the way from Alaska
*except* through the south end of Darien National Park in Panama.
Environmentalists would like to keep it that way.
But it seems that the only thing preventing the highway from being built
may be the civil war and guerillas in Colombia.
If that is resolved, the incredible expanse of virgin jungle you see here
might be scarred by roadways and logging.
That is a scene that has already played out in the northern Darien.
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