Boquete has been an adventure for Sonia and I! We spent our first day with the intention to do the 6-7 hour hike up to the top of Volcan Baru. Mother nature did not cooperate however and after about an hour of steep uphill climbing it started pouring rain. We kept going for another half hour and then came to our senses and turned back. We decided to keep going after we got back to the trailhead and walked the 5 miles back down into town. The rain let up and it was a pleasant walk. In retrospect, I truly don't think I would have made it to the top even if it hadn't rained. 6 hour straight up hike?? Yikes! As we have talked with people, we learned that many (far more hard core) people start the hike at midnight and walk all night to get to the top at sunrise. Can you say "loco"?! Even with our 3 hour walk that day, I have been really sore for 2 days.
Yesterday morning we did a 2 hour walk on a loop up into the hills around Boquete. We got to see some different scenery, some nice houses and also some Ngobe tribe people. in the afternoon we went on a coffee plantation tour. A Dutch man and his wife own a coffee plantation in the hills just outside Boquete town. Hans picked us up at our hospedaje "Valle Primavera" and then we picked up one other woman named Christine. She is from Maryland. She is teaching English for a month and her son works in Panama City. The tour was very educational. It is quite amazing what goes into making a good roast of coffee. Hans did tell us at the beginning of the tour that we would be coffee s obs by the end. While I already thought I was a coffee snob, I am more of one now!
Finally today we had our biggest adventure of all, whitewater rafting in the Chiriqui River. I have done this before in Ecuador and in Colorado. This time was definitely the most harrowing. A short time after we got started, we hit a huge rapid and Sonia and another guy from our raft flew out. Ni big deal normally, but we had a hard time getting ti them to pull them back in. Sonia ended up going through 2 sets of rapids before we could get her back in. She got tossed around in the rocks and now has a few scrapes, bumps and bruises. I think she thought she was going to drown for a moment. Her lifejacket wasn't on tight enough and the buoyancy wasn't good. She was freaked to say the least. I fell out later in the day in a huge rapid, but the guide was able to pull me back in pretty quickly. It's quite exhilarating bouncing out of the raft into a wild rapid! I can say that because I was back in safely quite fast. I'm pretty sure exhilarating is not the word Sonia would use, probably more like terrifying!
We are off to a monkey sanctuary in the Chiriqui hills tomorrow. We'll be lodging in a tree hut with open walls covered with mosquito nets. Our beds, as we understand will be hammocks. Hmmm, this will be a first!