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The Hill

Flag on Ancon Hill
From about any location in Panama City you can see a huge Panama flag atop a very prominent landmark - Ancon Hill, 650 plus feet high. While we had the rental car (between all those important errands) we decided to play explorer. The guidebooks said there was a road to the top of Ancon, the challenge was finding it. Off we went to Balboa (originally a Canal Zone town) and Quarry Heights, where the U.S. Southern Command was located. After finding a road behind the current headquarters of the Panama Canal Authority that looked promising up we went, until - we came to an imposing guard post. Oops, maybe we were not on the right road after all? Edging forward, we finally decided that it was just a leftover from the U.S. Military (you come across these things frequently in the old Canal Zone) and where once you would have encountered a serious MP we were greeted by a bored Panamanian guard waving at passing tourists. Read more

A Sunday drive to Cañita

Church just outside Cerro Azul
After church I (notice that singular, Jane was a reluctant passenger on this expedition) decided it would be interesting to drive East into the province of Darién. The Darién has historically been seen as a foreboding, dangerous place, a wilderness into which explorers venture, never to return. I was quite certain we could pull off the “return” thing, as we were only going as far as the small town of Cañita - as long as we didn’t get another flat tire. The province in HUGE and contains Parque Nacional Darién, that alone covers over one million acres of wilderness that sprawl across the isthmus near the Colombian border. All I wanted to do was drive out to Lake Bayano, take a picture or two, grab lunch, and then return to Cerro Azul. A pretty modest undertaking compared to the explorers that had preceded us. Read more
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