Panama… more than just a canal.

Panama. Before travelling to Panama the only thing I really knew about the country was that there was a famous canal there. I will even admit that prior to visiting the Panama Canal I didn’t really know anything about it either. But what an incredible country. We spent a week in Panama, but this post will focus on one adventure in particular: El Valle De Anton.

I don’t consider myself a particularly avid hiker, but I do fancy a day walking through the wilderness every once in awhile, and when I’m in a foreign place I’m always down. We didn’t make a lot of plans prior to getting on the plane to Central America, but I did know that I wanted to hike in the Rain Forest. We got one day in El Valle De Anton, and it was incredible.

Located inland, the valley is an inactive volcanic crater and is surrounded by dense Rain Forest; which is where our hiking adventure begins. We had a guide to help us navigate through the forest – this  is not required, but we chose to bring a local along as not to get lost. It was a grueling hike to the peak – but it was well worth it. The upward path was filled with waterfalls, thousand year old stone etchings, and dense, damp, green jungle.
As we made it to the top, the forest opened up into vast hills with views of the valley below. And then…all of a sudden — MIST. It happened so fast that it was had to believe. The valley below disappeared into a thick fog and less then 10 seconds later rain began to pour from the sky. It was one of the most beautiful and happiest moments of my life thus far. Truly incredible. The rain began to turn into a downpour and our guide suggested making our way down as it was only going to get worse.
I had thought the walk upward was difficult – I was not prepared for the slippery waterfall awaiting us on the way down . As we made the descent along the same path we had ascended it turned into a river before our eyes. My first thought was that our journey down was going to be dangerous, but storms in the Rain Forest can last for hours, so it was the only option. We cautiously found our footing and made it down the mountain to the town. I slipped a few times – only once all the way on my ass. It was slow going, and the path that was clear on the way up had rushing water halfway up our calves on the way down. By the time we reached the town we were soaked to the bone and exhausted. I loved every second.
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