An Exhilarating True Story of Adventure, Survival and Extreme Horticulture.
The Darien Gap is a place of legend, an almost impregnable strip of swamp, jungle and cloud forest between the vast land masses of North and South America. Stories of abduction and murder there are rife, and still today more people successfully climb Everest or trek to the South Pole than cross the Darien Gap.
In 2000, Tom Hart Dyke, a young botanist, set off to Central America with one thing on his mind: orchids. Tom's enthusiasm for his beloved plants knew no bounds. In order to find the rare and beautiful species he so fervently admired, he was determined to endure some of the most inhospitable places on earth.
Unbeknown to Tom, another young explorer, Paul Winder, was backpacking through the area at the same time. On sabbatical from his career in the City of London, Paul was a fearless and intrepid traveller, happier scaling volcanoes than lounging on beaches. In every bar and cafe along his route, rumours abounded of the Darien Gap - and the more he heard, the greater became his desire to go there. Pure chance brought Paul and Tom together in northern Mexico; they formed an instant bond and their fate was sealed.
Ignoring a final, succinct warning from the 'Lonely Planet' guide - "Don't even think about it!" - Tom and Paul set off into the Darien: Tom in search of orchids, Paul in search of adventure. They would find plenty of each. From that day on, their survival was a matter of extraordinary endurance, incredible ingenuity and not a little good luck . . .