Author Archives: rolandisimo

Blurb in Smithsonian News

On 26 January the newsletter for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute had an article on our trip “A novel way to appreciate the rainforest.”

Note this picture is from Camino de Cruces trailhead, not Pipeline road.

Note this picture is from Camino de Cruces trailhead, not Pipeline road as the article suggests.


Team interviewed for Public Radio as they exit jungle

Hi, we have made it out of the jungle and have the Pacific ocean in our sights.  Just as we left the jungle, and got into cellphone range, we did an interview with Public Radio International’s (PRI) the world show.   We will be featured in their geoquiz which should air tonight (15th Jan) so tune in!

The link is live now

The show will then be archived on their website here.

off to the ocean!!

Gold route | PRI\’s The World

Video Teaser

We had a sligtly longer day of rest today and decided to reivew some of the video.  Here’s some teaser footage from Day 2.

More when we return and have time to cull the rest of the footage.

– Perry

Day 2 – Still Alive

Today we started at 7am with a boat ride to Buena Vista Penninusla and ended by riding our unis down Pipeline road into Gamboa at dusk.  This day included extensive riding on small footpaths and a dirt road, as well as a bit of jungle bushwacking.  By the end, a long day marked by lots of highlights (and a few lowlights).  These will have to wait for elaboration as I’m going to bed so I can get ready for crossing the Chagras early tomorrow morning to ride the Camino de Cruces!


Our Trailhead

A few more pictures and a post from Marcos, who was scouting our trial head yesterday.

Early in the morning, the sun will light up the “San Lorenzo Castle the Real of Chagres river”. That light is the same that pirates and explorers saw in 1595. p1090403_4_5_tonemapped

Here is where the ride start, ocean to ocean, trails to trails, The Gold Route…

Famous pirates and corsairs have started their crossing here. Francis Drake was able to conquer it in 1596; Henry Morgan attacked it with violence between 1668 and 1671 and started his trip to destroy Panama from here

This is a great place to visit to enjoy of the sea-landscape and the Chagres River – the only river in the world that has seen more gold than all the other rivers of the world put together.


Update on the last part of the Camino de las Cruces Trail


Marcos Garcia is a friend in Panama who is helping us with our ride.  Here is a post from him about the trails.

Today we started clearing parts of the Camino de Cruces road because the forest was winning, trying to take back the trail. I went with park guards to look at the section from Madden highway to Chivo Chivo road, the last part of the trail crossing from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Panama’s nature ministry, ANAM, gave me a tour of parts of the trail to check its condition. They are very interested in the unicycle crossing and are giving their whole support to help us with this activity.

However, about 3km of the trail are not now open, and other parts are partially overgrown. Therefore, we are immediately starting to clean the trail with a team of machete-men. We should complete it by Sunday, so that the trail will be ready for the unicycles to ride through Camino de las Cruces National Park next week!


A Unicycle break on Science Island

Riding up the steep hill by the labs

Riding up the steep hill by the labs, Panama Canal in the background.

When early explorers took their boats past Barro Colorado on their way up the Chagres river  it was just a hill on their right.  Nowadays the hill remains but it is surrounded by water on all sides, flooded by the lake created when they flooded the Chagres river to make the Panama Canal.  On one shore of Barro Colorado Island, or BCI, sits a research station run by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute where I have a research project on interactions between plants and mammals.  Active since 1923, BCI is the best studied tropical sites in the world.

Our ocean-ocean ride will include a stop here next week for one night before we head into Soberania National Park across the canal from BCI.  I’m here now to work, live-trapping agoutis, working with graduate students, checking camera-traps etc…  But, of course, I have my uni with me and had to take a spin today.

Although the island has many miles of jungle trails, its been made clear to me by BCI management that these are off limits for unis.  This leaves a small big of pavement and docking around the labs.  Still, this was fun, with plenty of hills, stairs, and other things to play on.

A great study break.