Panama Day 8. A Peaceful Morning Hike And Then Some Afternoon Chaos On My Last Day In Panama

Panama Day 8. A Peaceful Morning Hike And Then Some Afternoon Chaos On My Last Day In Panama

Panama Day Seven Panama City morning (29 of 48)
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It was partly  cloudy with  rain in the forecast when I awoke at the Panama Marriot Hotel on my last full day in Panama.  I had planned to hike one more time in the beautiful Metropolitan Natural Park . I had learned during my short stay,  there is always rain in the forecast in Panama so I decided to take a chance and began my hike to the park. I took some plastic bags with me to cover my camera and iPhone if the rains came. They didn’t and I got my five mile hike in without a drop. In fact, it turned out to be a beautiful morning.

The threatening clouds in the sky when I began my walk dissipated  and it was mostly sunny for my walk.  It was Monday morning and there was a lot more traffic then my Sunday morning hike.

The bus terminal across from the massive Albrook Mall was   very busy,  unlike when I walked past on Sunday morning.

 I again walked  past the mall and along  Ave, Luis Alvarez E. which took me past some ball fields and other University of Panama facilities.  There were a lot of tree along the avenue,

and, like the previous day,  I saw a few birds on my walk including this tropical kingbird,

the fork  tailed flycatcher,

and this clay colored thrush.

It was about a mile hike from my hotel to the Visitor Center and entrance to the park. I walked up  the tree-lined  street and arrived at the entrance where paid my small  entrance fee.

and once again walked through the beautiful and well-maintained flower gardens, with so many exotic tropical flowers in bloom,

and  onto the stone trail that meandered through the rainforests in the park.

I walked beneath the lush, thick canopy of tropical trees and past the  small pond along the trail.   The turtles I had seen on previous hikes were not active yet, but 

I  did see  a brown basilisk lizard  scamper across the trail.
There was one thing very different than my hike the previous day. There was no one else on the trail. At this point I did not yet see one single person on the trail. The day before, Sunday, the trail was crowded with hikers from start to finish. I didn’t mind one bit. I enjoyed the peace and quite. The only sound was the birds and cicadas.  I wish I had more time to take advantage of the lack of people to look for birds and other wildlife but I had to check out of my hotel by `11 a.m. so I had to walk without many stops.
I followed the same loop trail as the day before, which took me under tall trees, ferns
and other tropical plants and flowers. I believe this is a false bird of paradise flower,
this a type of tropical sage,
and I am not sure what this pretty blue flower is.
The trail then continued up the steep hill to the overlook. I met  one woman hiking down the  trail unlike the many folks I encountered on my Sunday hike here.
I did  saw a few colorful birds on this part of the trail including this whopping motmot,
a female red throated ant tanager,
and a female bay breasted warbler.
I  was also pleasantly surprised to see a  family of Geoffroy’s tamarin monkey’s traveling through the tree tops.
It was a wonderful experience to be along in a tropical rainforest with a family of monkeys, a few miles from a modern  city with a million people.
After watching the monkeys, I continued on my uphill hike.
It was very warm and humid as I hiked up the hill. I made it to the top and was surprised to find I was the only one there, On Sunday there were dozens of people, talking, laughing, playing music. It was like a party. Not on this hike.  It was just me and the sounds of the birds, so peaceful and tranquil. I was able to take in the amazing views. I  was  at  the  overlook  for  about  15  minutes  and   no  one  else  appeared.
I again reflected  on the scene of a large  modern city surrounding by tropical rainforest.
I enjoyed the view, and the solitude, while looking at the homes of millions of people in the view below me. It was a remarkable experience.
I left the overlook and hiked down the other loop of the trail where I came across fruit scattered across the trail. I am not sure if I missed it  on my hike the previous day, or if the fruit just fell from the tree. Google Lens is  identifying it as a type of fig, and my PictureThis app is telling me it is a persimmon. I don’t think it is either and so not sure what it is.
But it attracted a lot of  butterflies, this is a common blue morph butterfly, an amazing butterfly with the top of it’s wings a brilliant blue and underneath a dull brown,
this I believe is an owl butterfly
and this one I couldn’t identify. They were all fluttering around pieces of the crushed fruit on the trail.
It was getting hot and humid as I  continued  my  return hike.  The humidity in the rainforest produced some mushrooms including this species of cup fungi.
and these I haven’t been able to identify.
I also saw a few more birds on my return hike through the park, including this olivaceous woodcreeper, and
this colorful crimson  backed tanager,
I also saw these birds but I’m not sure of the identification I got from Merlin and Google Lens,  a plain xenops,
 a Swainson’s thrush,
and a thick billed euphonia. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my last morning hike in Panama. Panama Day 8 Metropolitan Natural Park birds October 23 2023.
I wish I had more time to explore the rainforest and it’s   beautiful and exotic flora and fauna. However I had to get back to my hotel to checkout so I hurried
along the trail. I saw a few more people walking and running before I finished, 
and I also saw this yellow-spotted millipede and
the  meso American slider turtles back  in the pond along the trail.
I walked back under the now intense Panama sun
and made it back to my hotel with enough  time to have a quick breakfast.  My peaceful hike in the Metropolitan Natural Park was, I thought a great way to end my visit to Panama. However,  my afternoon wasn’t as peaceful as my morning hike, in fact, my drive to my  airport hotel was  utter chaos.   Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos from  my last morning hike in Panama. Panama Day 8 Metropolitan Natural Park  October 23 2023.
After breakfast I quickly showered,  and realized my checkout time wasn’t until noon. So I worked on my blog until noon,  checked out and met my taxi  driver for, what I thought would be  the 25 minute ride to the Crown Plaza Hotel  near the airport.  The 1/2 hour drive turned into a 5  hour ordeal..  My taxi  driver was a pleasant man but spoke no English, and I spoke no Spanish.  It was a pleasant ride at first as I enjoyed  the scenery on the way to the airport.
However, it wasn’t pleasant for much longer. I had  heard of the  protests  occurring in Panama City in opposition to a foreign mining company.  I was warned on my flight to Panama traffic may be disrupted. I had no problems during my week stay, until my ride to the airport. It was disrupted. My taxi driver came to the main road to the airport  and traffic was stopped,
He took a number of detours on side roads, all now congested with other people doing the same thing.  At first it was nice driving through the many different. neighborhoods of Panama City. But after about an 1 1/2 I started to get impatient. I was glad I was staying in a hotel   for my flight the next morning. I never would have made my flight that day.
We drove under a metro train and I tried to communicate with my driver using my iPhone. I asked if he could go back and drop me off at a metro station that  would take me near my hotel or the airport. He finally understood, and drove away from the airport.
He dropped me off at a metro station but I still wasn’t sure it would take me near my hotel.
 At first no one spoke English and then I met a kind young woman who was able to help me. She explained I would have to change trains to get near my hotel. She boarded the train with me, and stayed near me until she told me me when to get off.
After changing trains I  learned I had two more stops before my hotel.  It was a short ride  and soon I exited the metro station,
but still had a half mile walk to my hotel over mostly a dirt path along a busy highway in the  hot and humid afternoon. Temperatures were in the mid 80’s. I finally made it to the  hotel where I found more chaos. A long line of folks who missed their flights and were trying to book a room for the night. I was lucky I had reservations. I learned that the protesters had blocked all roads leading to the airport.
It was almost 5 p.m. when I got  settled in my room.  After showering, I was hungry and had only one choice for dinner, the buffet at the restaurant, It was crowded but I had a nice meal. My flight wasn’t until 8 a.m. the next morning but I was told to leave on the shuttle at 5 a.m. in case of more protests. I was only about a five minute drive from the airport. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my ride to the airport.  Panama Day 8 Panama City afternoon October 23 2023.
The next morning our shuttle driver rushed us abroad the shuttle fearing more blocked roads from the protesters. However, they weren’t up this early and we were at the airport in five minutes.  I passed though security with  only a short delay and had almost three hours to spend in the airport.
 I learned more about the protesters that shut down the roads. I know the delay was very inconvenient but I agree with their position that the natural resources of Panama should be under the control of a Panama company. It was an interesting end to a wonderful trip. I had time for a light breakfast  and edited some photos waiting to board my direct flight to Newark.
We left on time and soon I was flying home ending another great adventure in a beautiful country and crossing off yet another item on my bucket list. I wish I could tell the nuns who taught me so long ago that I was able to see the “Eight Wonder of the World”  the Panama Canal.

Panama’s a really wonderful country. There’s obviously the Panama Canal, which brings a lot of tourism, and a huge American influence; it’s just a mix of so many great things: African, Caribbean, Latin American Spanish, all kinds of influences there.    J. August Richards 

This is my first post