It was a beautiful clear morning. We woke before the sun rose, drank coffee, checked our packs and headed out to catch a cab. The 8k drive to the trail head wound up into the surrounding hillsides of Boquete, over broken asphalt roads, dirt roads, river crossings, and steep cliff faces to the ranger station in Alto Chiquero. The morning light creeped through the trees casting long shadows mixed with golden glows on the rocky trail. The first river crossing was a wet one. Sometimes trying to keep feet dry leads to larger splashes. I gave into wet wool socks and dry camera gear. We came across this bridge as the trail branched off and decided if they build a bridge it must be to get to the other side or to lead to somewhere we want to explore. The doorway to the jungle starts here!
We walked along in silence enthralled with the bird calls and bird songs. Eyes peeled searching for a flash of color, a movement, a song bird in plain sight. In the thick of the jungle shadows sometimes it is hard to make them out. Our honorary birder in the group kept the binoculars and bird guide close.
As the trail began to climb so did the bamboo. The stalks reaching skyward bending into archways we tunneled through. I am crazy for this doctor Seuss-like variety with puffy tufts of poofs along long reaching strands. Spiky collars on the verticals emphasized the segments.
Pink and yellow flowers carpeted the trail in places. We burst through the jungle thickness to scenic vistas. Here, we could see the trees covered in blooms. The hillside began to step up, up, up, every lift, reach, and stretch bringing us closer to our destination and the sunlight.
We reached the ranger station on the Cerro Punta side. We layed in the grass and rested. The rest of the group was excited to see another town so down the slopes we wandered to find fresh strawberries from the roadside stalls and colorful homes in Xmas attire. A big meal and a long windy bus road back to Boquete, made for a brilliant excursion and a satisfying day.