For the week we spent in Boquete we rarely had a roof over our heads because of how many outdoor activities were all around us. We decided early in the week that 3 hikes was just not enough we could fit more in! So we decided to do some rock climbing since it's been about 3 years since the last time we had climbed. Plus Lauren had never done true outdoor rock climbing before so it was an added bonus with the climbing area being a basalt formation not far from town. We found some rope laying on the side of the road that night that seemed sturdy enough and we brought a few carabiners with us so we set out early the next morning......
All kidding aside rock climbing is actually quite dangerous and much like surfing you always want to go with a local that knows the area and what they are doing so you don't get in over your head. We called up BoqueteClimbingSchool and ended up doing a full day tour with them which we were really happy we did because Bryan found his new favorite hobby.....slackline!
In the morning we went to "The Canyon" (Los Cangilones de Gualaca) for some swimming and bouldering. Only way in was to jump the 15 feet down into the water and then you could either (preferably) climb your way back out or swim up stream a bit where you could stand up and climb back out. Bouldering out of the water was especially difficult because of how slippery the rocks were plus just getting your body out of the water initially was a difficult start position. Our guide also set up the slackline and immediately walked back and forth across the canyon on it, making it look incredibly easy. After about an hour off and on of trying the slackline we could both take a few steps, but there was no way we were going to attempt crossing the canyon on that thing! At least not walking across it...Bryan preferred to cross like a monkey.
After the morning swim we grabbed lunch at a local spot before rock climbing and learned about some really good Caribbean style hot sauce that our guide always carry's with him. He got it in Bocas which is our next stop after Boquete so we will be on the look out for it. He even tried to get Lauren to eat a spoonful of the hot sauce as a bet and he would pay for her $5 lunch. As tempting as it was she wisely turned the offer down.
The area where we rock climbed, as I said before, is a basalt formation, which you may know is a volcanic rock formation. Basalt is formed when lava cools quickly; and by the shape of this particular formation it almost seems like the lava may have encountered a river long ago to create the concave shape. We did about 6 or 7 climbs each with the most difficult being the center climb in the middle of the concave of the rock formation. We watched the locals do this climb with such grace and ease (which is not at all how we looked). It was one of those climbs that requires the experience and discipline to climb slowly and tightly to the rock face with several awkwardly positioned balancing acts to grab the next hand or foot hold. Needless to say that is not how we climbed it. We had more of a brute force/sweat it out approach, but we both made it to the top!
That night we decided to check out the local brewery and were joined by one of our hostel "mates". I used mates because she is Australian :). We learned a lot from our Australian friend in the few days we shared at our hostel and we hope to meet back up when we get to Australia! We also bumped into the others from the group that we went out with earlier in the day. Two of the three were from the Netherlands and gave us some great (and nerdy) things to check out while in the Netherlands. All of them are civil engineering related, but the coolest nerd site is an inflatable dam! We are guessing it must be "inflated" with a liquid that has a density greater than water so that buoyancy doesn't win the day, but I digress that will be for a future post. So the scene is set at the brewery, there is a group of us chatting in between songs played by the classic rock cover band. The band was actually pretty good and it made it interesting when some of the lyrics would get changed up, kept you on your toes. We had a good time and enjoyed some good beer. Our favorite beer was an amber ale with coffee notes which I have had before elsewhere. It's not a common beer to find and even harder to get the balance right, but they did a great job at Boquete Brewing Company!