The final 2 km are on horseback
In my last post I described the first part of the way to the farm. I mentioned that we can drive the Jeep close to it but not all the way. What now follows is the more interesting part of getting there.
The first few times we went there we rented horses. They had to go all the way from Buenos Aires, that's the village where the regular road ends, crossing two rivers to the point where it gets too narrow for the Jeep. The first two horses in the following picture are "criollos'. Those are descendants from the horses the Spaniards left in Latin America. More about that later. The third one is a mix between an American Quarter Horse and "criollo" hence it is a bit larger than the other two.
This is where the trail to the farm starts. As you can see it is definitely too narrow for a car and even an ATV would not fit there. Further in there is a steep slope (about 50m) going down to a river.
This trail provides access to the farm before ours too. This trail is the only way to get in and we've already gotten the permission from the owner of that other farm to make this trail our official access road. In the next picture you can see that it can be widened and we plan to drive a bulldozer or maybe a backhoe in to move dirt and make it about 10m wide. 10m is what is required by Panamanian law to turn a trail into the official access road for a farm. That's an important issue and I think I will talk more about that later.
Here is a nice picture of myself on one of the rented horses. I carry a backpack with utentils and meat for a BBQ lunch. Plus we've learned that the best way to survive in the Panamanian outdoors is to carry Gatorate in powder form. As there is water everywhere (many creeks with fresh and cold water) this makes the perfect drink. You do sweat a lot. By noon I can wrench out my shirt and I'm pretty sure it's about 3 liters of sweat what comes out of it. Your body looses a lot of salt and minerals and those have to be replenished. Gatorate is the perfect product in that case. We've made the experience that with enough of it we can go all day without becoming fatigued.
There is another little detail worth mentioning. In front of my leg you can spot a leather case with "Panama" written on it. Inside is a machete. That's a long knife and you use it to cut away any vegetation blocking your way. These knifes are available in many different sizes and shapes. What I carry is the midsize version.
After a while of riding through the jungle we can see the farm from a hill. It's all you can see in the middle of the picture plus what's behind the hill on the right. To the left is the river that borders the farm.
After a half hour ride we finally get to the farm and to the hut where the former owner used to live. You can clearly tell that this place has been abandoned quite a while ago. The thatched roof has holes, where the bed stand there is only bits left and on the outside it appears that the jungle is slowly taking over again.
This was the kitchen:
We are now in the bedroom looking up the roof.
Here the bed used to stand. A very simple structure to place a mattress onto.
Look closely and you can spot in the middle of the picture a little corral. The farm was used for subsistence cattle farming and that's the place where the former owner used to vaccinate the animals.
|06 Sep 2009
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