Boquete, left me speechless and heavy-legged. Never did I expect to be leaving every morning from the hostel on such a wide array of adventures. We continued our fine form from last week and started this week with two awesome hikes. From here, it was time to part ways from my great mate Jackson and start the journey to Bogota, Colombia. Here’s how my week unraveled!
We cruised into Monday with a run, maracuya (passionfruit) juice and a gym session, our three main ingredients for leading a productive day. The afternoon approached and we decided to go hike one of the shorter hikes of Boquete but by far the steepest. Despite only being a 1.1km in length, we covered 414m incline on the way up. It brought back memories for both of us of Kokohead crater, which also provides a grueling incline for those willing to take on the challenge.
Hiking La Piedra De Lino (The Rock of Lino)
As I mentioned above, this was shorter in comparison to what we had been hiking in the previous days, however, with the incline it really had our legs burning on the way up. Over the course of the 40 minute trek up through the mud and overgrown scrub, we had a little pal lead us all the way to the top. An adorable little dog came all the way to the viewpoint and sat with us till it was time to go. Whilst at the top we hoped for sunset which was optimistic at best, however, the two of us took the time to do some reading and writing amongst the crisp mountain air. Doggo nibbled on some of my crackers and we made the call to head down before the rain and darkness swooped us. To make things interesting on the way down, Jackson and I kept a tally of how many times we fell over. He snuck away with the win, keeping a steady foot down the slippery descents only falling over twice opposed to my clumsy four falls. My time in Panama has most definitely strengthened my legs, all the hiking has been a terrific and unintentional form of crosstraining.
My last day in Boquete
It got to the stage where we had completed all the ‘main’ hikes of Boquete (Excluding two which closed due to landslides), which meant it was time to explore a little deeper. As we jumped in the taxi, the driver informed us that the hike we were about to do was ‘extreme’! Again, we take that with a pinch of salt and make the call on that once the hike is complete.
Arriving at the main path to start the hike, abruptly we were cut off. Out of nowhere, a small local man wearing gumboots up to his knees decided to put a halt on our ambitions to climb the mountain ahead of us. We were at a crossroads, he couldn’t speak English or Spanish, so even Jackson’s little Spanish wasn’t going to get us through today. He bombarded us with a heap of non-words and sounds, it was soon conclusive that we weren’t going to be granted access and were sheepishly walked off the property. The journey to the hike was an infrequent route traveled by taxi drivers, so for the first time, we decided to organise an arranged pick up 4 hours later. It seemed that we were going to spend the afternoon in a mountain coffee shop, deliberating over what would have been a great time.
Last day in Boquete, Part 2.
To our disbelief, the man with gumboots as big as his legs strode off downhill, into the countryside. He watched him walk into the distance without ever looking back at us. It was at this point, Jackson and I looked at each other and decided to try our luck and hike the mountain we’d now been staring at for the past half an hour. Despite being a gated property, we couldn’t resist the temptation of the open pathway leading us into the forest.
Soon enough, we were out of sight and guessing our way through the forest to the top of the mountain. Occasionally we would get a glimpse of the rocks at the top, but not often enough for it to be our North Star of the night sky. With some trial and error, we found the path we were after and swiftly made it the peak.
The view was astounding as we admired the landscapes beneath us. We sat up there for a while and soaked it all in, I couldn’t have asked for a better hike on my last day.
Two days of transit!
It was sad to be leaving Jacko, especially in the peak of adventures but that’s how the cookie crumbles. From Boquete, I’d jump on a bus for 10 hours to Panama City. Only a short stopover in Panama City, I then boarded to Bogota. Flying from Panama to Bogota really isn’t cheap, it certainly puts a hole in the wallet. Unfortunately, there is no cheap way to get from one country to the other. However, I can definitely say that going to Panama was one of the best travel decisions I’ve made this year. Extremely grateful to have seen and experienced what I have over the last 4 weeks and to meet some wonderful people along the way.
Back to Colombia, and to a city I am yet to explore. I teamed up with Life Afar again and set myself up in an awesome base with both mountain and city views. Whilst being based in Bogota for four days, I have used it as a time to reflect on the last 2-3 months which have been nothing short of a whirlwind. From Bali, to Colombia, to Panama and now back to Colombia, my mind runs wild trying to comprehend it all. The experiences have been so rich and far different from any travel I have done before.
The last few days I have spent plenty of time writing in my journals, so along with some photos here is a few of my favourites.
Tomorrow I start the long transit back to Australia. I’m excited to go back to Australia to launch my book ‘WHY DON’T YOU?’, see my friends and regroup for the next phase of 2018.
Catch you next week in the land of Sydney,
We think about how to spend everything, but our time. – JL