The highlands of central Panama are covered in a luxuriant mat of jungle green. The forests near the mountain town of Boquete are exceptionally beautiful and have the giant tropical oaks as their dominant emergents. A week age I was there with students and staff from the field station and once again was privileged to climb here.
The weather is dominated by cloudy, rainy afternoons and almost every day, at almost exactly two in the afternoon, the rains will begin just after the clouds move in.
The forest where I climb has been named the Philosopher´s Grove, by one of our former students, and the dominant trees have all received the names of Greek philosophers. Above, Clarence Fouche and I are shown looking about to decide which tree we will climb. We finally settle on Aristotle, a tree that has not yet been climbed. Ari has a monstrous trunk and, as we discover on our climb, is well over a hundred and fifty feet high.
Clarence was second up, after my lead, and is shown here dangling at about one hundred and twenty feet. As you can see, the tree is covfered in all manner of epiphytic growth. On one limb I saw more than ten different species of orchids.
At one hundred and forty feet I pose for Clarence. We won´t be here much longer because the clouds are starting to roll in and the rains will soon be upon us.
From Ari´s top we can see a distant waterfall on a nearby mountainside that we were unaware of until seeing it from the tree. The climb was quite awesome and hopefully I can be back there in another couple of weeks.