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Digital Subscriptions > Tread > Tread Mar/Apr 2019 > HELL ON EARTH


Combat Veterans Cross The Darien Gap, The World’s Most Dangerous Jungle.

Between the frozen shores of the Arctic Ocean and windblown Straights of Magellan lay a thin ribbon of tarmac that threads a path through a dozen countries in an attempt to connect the Americas. From the south it terminates in Turbo, Colombia, and from the north its curtain call is in the Panamanian village of Yaviza. Between the two is a span of merely 66 miles as the crow lies, yet for centuries the governments of the two continents have endeavored to connect the dots. This is the Darien Gap, and its reputation as an inhospitable abyss dates back to the 1500s and Vasco Nunez de Balboa.

It is an environment that defines the term “survival of the fittest,” a place where everything wants to harm, if not kill, you. A prick from the fangs of a Feu-de-lance will summon the Grim Reaper, get bit by a fire ant and the following days will be an inferno of pain. Temperatures push the mercury to triple digits, humidity hovers at 100 percent, and the dry season is simply less wet. The canopy above obscures nearly all light and the rivers below are rich in pathogens eager to wreak havoc on your intestinal system. It is a no-man’s land rife with paramilitary groups, drug runners, and human traffickers. Life has little value, and the collateral damage caused by the pursuit of profit decays into the detritus. The Darien is, by definition, hell on earth.

While many have traversed the length of the Pan-American Highway, the list of souls who have forged a path through the Darien is comprised of an elite few. After spending a decade with the idea of a moto crossing through the Gap on the back burner, U.S.

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Tread March/April 2019, Crossing the DARIEN GAP, Top 10 Experiences, Pick up BED-Gear, And More....