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Pine Hill, New Jersey
July 18, 2008
From journal Molas and Mud - Adventures in El Valle, Panama
December 5, 2003
Judging the distance of the approaching platforms would be my biggest challenge. I certainly didn't want to brake too late and crash into the tree, or have to pull my weight across that rope. I wondered how fast my speed would accumulate, and if the height would bother me.
But I never got to find out. No, I didn't chicken out. The ride was closed due to yesterday's severe rainstorm. The cable section over the waterfall had fallen and a construction crew were already busy repairing it which would take a couple of days. My friend Donna (who had chickened out) looked at me with wide eyes. "And what if you had been on there when THAT happened?" she asked pointing to the jungly undergrowth.
But no one had been hurt. We ran into the owner the next day outside the local church. We'd met Raul Arias de Para previously when we stayed at his unique tree house lodge, Canopy Tower in Sobernia National Park an hour northwest of Panama City. El Valle was his home and the Canopy Adventure was his creation. He assured us that it was a safe operation–the zip-line closes whenever storms occur. And no one has been hurt on this ride. Ever.
It looked like a hoot. We saw it from below when we hiked the scenic forest trail. Admission to hike the loop is $2 and includes a bamboo walking stick to assist in crossing over slippery rocks and mucky places. The incline is minimal, making the trail suitable for most everyone.
Singing birds kept us company for an hour as we walked the rocky trial. The woods were otherwise quiet. No one else wandered around that day, except the construction crew. We walked under the zip-line, passed unusual trees and beautiful Chorro El Macho waterfall. On a nicer day we would've spent time soaking in the natural pool at the base of that picturesque waterfall. But today the entrance was blocked. One of the massive trees supporting a platform and securing the zip-line had split into pieces and had fallen smack into the path.
The Canopy Adventure costs $40. But here's a little secret: you can pay $10 to ride the last leg of the ride. (This isn't publicized, so don't go blabbing.) Perfect for those tempted, but afraid of committing to all six platforms. But a waste of money really ‘cuz once the exhilaration kicks in, I bet you'll muster the courage to do the whole run.
From journal Nature Adventures in Panama's El Valle