After attempting a shortcut, possibly long forgotten on the island of Taboga, I decided there had to be another way to ascend to the Crosses.
I back tracked, and chose to hike the normal way, or perhaps, the backward way. Along this route I ran into a group of students doing the same, and we joined forces. They were a melting pot of backgrounds from a Uni’ in England, and all international. Michelle and Jeffrey from Hong Kong, Anna from Poland, Sarah from Ireland and Florence, originally from China, now living in France. Plus me. Yes, we had an interesting group.
Along with their ‘roughin’ it’ guidebook and markers on the road, we found what we thought could be the right path. The hike up easy, like their book mentioned, but after the 30 minutes we were nowhere near the supposed top. In fact, we saw the cross no longer!
An hour in, still no cross, and no view of the destination. Running low on water, tired, hot and lightheaded, we sent two ahead for another 10-minute trek. If they were to get close in those ten, they would come back and we would all head up to get to the top. If not, back we would go.
As it turned out, we still had a very long trek ahead if we wanted to reach the crosses. Most likely another hour through a jungle. When you have no water, its 80% humidity and you have no clue what the road ahead will be, you have to turn around. Not a sign of defeat in the least, more of maturity and wisdom. No water is no bueno!
I had my fill of hiking for the day. I was ready for a swim!
On our way back we were able to cut through a private home and their farm, passing a few cows. Then through the hole cut in the fence and onwards using the jungle. This path was clearly used by this guy everyday, like he told us. Not at all how my hike had began through another shortcut.
We made it out and into town just in time for the storm that was brewing.
Beautiful, dark, fluffy clouds were rolling in, lightening was flashing miles ahead. We all had the same idea, take a few photos and then get to a place with food, and for me, a beer.
But the rain had a mind of its own.
It started with that slow sprinkle, teasing you. “I’m not that bad,” it says, making you actually believe it. Then, suddenly its raining so hard it morphs into a tarantula downpour. And after one minute you realize you are soaked. So, whatever!
2I ran through the rain. A beautiful experience, in its own right.
At the end, I think I made the right choice. Although I didn’t finish the hike, the experience of attempting to find the right path was entertaining, challenging and a good way to meet other explorers and have some friendly encounters… with an Olympic caliber, long-distance, jumping ant, for one!
After my lunch, I went to explore the beach. Beach-combing has always been a favorite activity of mine. Stems from those early days of looking for treasure, trying to find “secret caves” or a hole to explore. Although I love a good view, I also enjoy looking at the ground. Finding remnants of past visitors or residents, to glean a piece of their lived lives.
One beauty Taboga does have are the rocks! My geology and archeology friends would have drooled, as much as I did. These beautiful, bright, orange, red, multicolor rocks covered one side of the beach where the seawall met the ocean, and the tide was coming up. The other side was the playa side: less waves, more people. But the beach was pretty dirty on the quiet side. Garbage littered the smooth sand. A huge disappointment for me. A paradise being forgotten and slowly destroyed.
I swam, it was nice, but after hearing about the crocodiles, or was it alligators, that come out at night by the Panama Canal, I had scary thoughts in my mind and decided to not swim too far.
The ferry back provided for some good watching of action at the nearby Panama Canal. Until next time, Panama! I enjoyed you very much, Casco Viejo! Next stop- COSTA RICA!
If you have any questions about my trip or want tips for setting up your future journey, feel free to email!