Although the rainy season is over and the windy season is here this little hidden spot is ideal no matter what time of the year you choose to hike it. There are many paths on this high hill and yet to this day have not hiked many of them as, I do have my favorite. Maybe it's time to try one of the new trails the next time, I take a group up there. Here are a few photos I've taken hiking on this trail over the years.
Nature walking is one of the best exercises you can do for yourself. It not only provides a good workout especially, hiking "Off the Beaten Path" there is so much more to hiking than just walking straight forward and not seeing the beauty. Nature hiking places your mind in a different place. You all of sudden become absorbed and detached from everything else when you come across this bee getting nectar from a flower that, I took a photo of. It really does wonders for the mind and spiritual being, a meditational state of mind experience if you will.
In January, we walk in an area not far from Boquete located in the district in Palmira Abajo. A highland hike fairly moderately easy. On this day, we had an 84 years young woman hiking with us (not the one pictured).
This short hike takes just about 3 hours, less if you are not a nature lover and it loops, taking us back to our cars. A country old road seldom used, you are shaded by trees as you hike on a ridge with a canyons on both sides. This is cattle area having also an abundance of coffee trees. Well, we are Boquete!
This finca is located in Alto Quiel area in the Boquete District. The property is owned by a Panamanian family. Here is a bit of history about the magnificent Finca Lerida. I then will describe hiking in Finca Lerida area.
History Finca Lerida
"In the early 1900’s, Tollef Bache Mönniche, a recently retired Panama Canal engineer from Norway, purchased land from a local farmer in the highlands of Boquete.
Named after a city founded by Moors in Spain, Lerida sits over 5,000 feet above sea level in the lush cloud forest of the Chiriquí province – bordering the Amistad National Park and just six miles from the picturesque mountain town of Boquete.
Mönniche and his wife Julia Trible Huger, a descendant of one of the colonial families of the United States, first moved to Lerida as a temporary retreat from the hard work of the city but ended up owning 900 acres of green coffee, vegetables and fruits – including strawberries, pears, blackberries, plums, and some varieties of avocados brought from Guatemala. They raised cattle, turkeys, chickens and horses.
Even though infrastructure was limited, Mönniche established a thriving and beautiful coffee farm. The 1929 harvest was remarkable, producing 204,600 pounds of coffee from 12,000 coffee plants. The best batches were exported to Germany where they sold at three times their market value. Fast forward...Mönniche and his wife returned to The United States in 1956, and the property was sold to Alfred and Inga Collins in 1957.
Alfred Collins, an American-Panamanian whose father came to work for the Panama Canal as a lawyer in 1908, and Inga Collins, born in Panama to Swedish parents, settled into Lerida and continued to harvest high quality coffee, which they exported to The United States and Europe. They became active in conservation and played an important role in organizing the coffee community.
Mr. Collins, along with others, helped coffee producers label their coffee according to altitude and brought together 168 shareholders to create The “Beneficio Central de Café” or Coffee Central Beneficiary to help small producers export their coffee. Farm workers vividly recalled Mrs. Inga’s festive Christmas parties and all of the gifts she gave to the children on the farm."
Fortunately for all of us in the Boquete District, Finca Lerida continues to thrive today with the new owners the Chiari Amoruso family who have dedicated their time to protecting and preserving the lush forest area surrounding their property, as, they continue to grow coffee on this property.
Finca Lerida at over 5,000 ft. high has trails that are easy to follow or you can also hire a guide as, we did on that beautiful hiking day. Call them first, if, you would like a guide. This is an area for birding and Howler Monkey watching as our guide Cesar Caballero pointed out to us. Without a guide many times it is difficult to see the things you may want to see. You should try hiking in Finca Lerida!
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