Bob and I by a bombacacio tree on Barro Colorado Island
A highlight of our rainforest hikes came the day we took a 45-minute boat ride across Gatun Lake to the island where Smithsonian Institute has a research center for studying tropical plants, animals and insects. We hiked for about 5 hours in 90 degree temperature and 90% humidity. To guard against insect bites we had to wear long- sleeve shirts tucked into the waist of our pants and our socks taped up over our pants legs. In the days we were there, the main culprits were chiggers, not mosquitos. The guide told our party of 10 that the buttress base of this tree was 60 feet in diameter. It was so tall that we really couldn't see the top of it.
This was truly Tarzan country. We did not leave the trail.
After 5 hours of walking we were all drenched with sweat and our clothes were dripping wet. Following the hike we heard a lecture by one of the researchers on the use of sound by bullet ants to communicate different messages to both ants and predators.
The prepared trails we walked for 5 hours up and down
At 3:30 p.m. we returned our walking poles, drank some fresh squeezed juice and made our way to the pier where we boarded our boat for the return trip to Gamboa. We picked up our rented car at the pier at 4:30 p.m.--just in time to spend almost 2 hours in rush hour traffic on the way to the airport. Bob turned in our car and we went to the nearby Riande hotel where we spent our last night in Panama. We boarded our flight at 9:30 a.m, had an uneventful transfer in Atlanta and arrived home around 7:00 p.m.