Saturday, May 21, 2011

TO AND FROM VOLCAN, AND WATER BUFFALO EXCITEMENT

Today I drove the new Ruta Sur to and from Volcan.  Volcan was settled by Californians and Swiss and German farmers. It is highly agricultural but still has large tracts of unspoiled cloud forest.  It's quite a bit higher in elevation than Boquete - about 3,000 meters (8,000 feet).  It sits right in the shadow of Volcan Baru, the dormant volcano which is the highest point in the country.

Here are some scenes from the drive there:

Golden-tipped trees filling a valley.

The first of many dairy herds I saw

And here are some views from the Casa Grande hotel where art show was:
Looking up one direction
across the river from the hotel.
Tremendous biodiversity

View of the river from the hotel.
Reminiscent of Evergreen, Colorado

Looking the other direction up the hill
and across the river.  An afternoon shower.

This was all very nice, but the highlight of the day was being stopped by water buffalo in the middle of the road on the way back.  No, that was not a typo:

Warning:  Water Buffalo Crossing
I had seen these two on the way up, loose in an orange grove.  They are evidently strays from the main herd, which I also saw safely behind the fence a couple of miles up the road.  A friend had told me about the water buffalo on the Volcan road.  Rumor has it they are leftover from Noriega's regime, when he had them imported for possible military purposes.  (Yes, I know this sounds far-fetched, but hey, this is Panama where anything goes.)

I rolled down the window and gave them a stern lecture:  "You'd better get back home!"

One of them gave me a quizzical look, but then they seemed to do just that:

Headin' back home down the highway.

I am very worried about these two.  I flashed my lights at the oncoming traffic to give them a warning.  Twilight was rapidly approaching, and with their dark skin they would not be visible at night.  If they got hit, they will still be there in the morning when I have to drive back.


I hope they made it.

-bjd


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