Adventures in South America travel blog


Off to the jungle

Panning for gold

Jungle trail

Zip chair


Alice on the suspension brif=dge

Walking palm

View from the top of the trail

The balsa raft

Squirrel monkies - Amazoonia





Back to the lodge

Where the workers live

July 26

The sun rises at 6:00 AM,,, and it came through the curtain. The mist was rising on the Napo… Up and off to breakfast and then preparing for the day - swim suit, sun screen, insect repellant, camera… everything except water.

We took the trail down to the river, boarded the canoe, and headed up stream for our jungle trek. As we went we passed a couple families doing laundry - pounding the clothes on rocks a then spreading them out to dry. We also passed a couple families panning for gold - one using the traditional method of sloshing mud around in a pan - but the rest using gas powered pans - dumping in sediment and the machine shifting it. Apparently quite a bit washes down from the mountains.

We finally reached the trail and had to break into two groups. We all had on muck boots and it was a good thing - muddy, slippery… steps were built into the slopes but it was still messy going. We saw a number of quite interesting plants - the walking palm - which sends out roots toward the sunny side and actually moves over time. A “lotion” plant whose leaves produces a hand cream… plus many more. Not too many animals - termites, a dead snake, ant, a dove that just walked around looking for handouts… There was a “chair” zip line over about 100 feet long, a suspension bridge that was a bit wobbly. We reached a clearing at the top of the trail with a nice view of the river, then back to the river.

The canoe went only a short was to a rocky beach where there was a balsa wood raft. About ten of the group (including Alice and me) took off our boots and got n the raft. To say it was a bit low in the water would be an understatement! We immediately got wet. After a little Alice was dragging her feet in the water so I pushed her in… she loved it. Alice and another guy from the group swam most of the way. Current was quite strong so we made rapid progress. As we approached the lodge they both had to get back on the boat as we were approaching some rapids. Luckily, the raft held together to the end. Quite fun!

Then off to lunch and a quick nap for me (Alice to the pool)). We got up and again headed down to the rafts to a trip to Amazoonia - an animal rescue facility that takes discarded pets and animals taken by customs. It was a bit down river and the river had fallen quite a bit. We hit bottom twice, but made it OK.

As we walked to the facility a troop of squirrel monkeys scampered by in the bushes making quite a racket. They feed this wild group so they won’t steal food from the animals they are keeping. After a brief introduction to te place the guide took us around. Macaws, Parrots, Tapir, Caimans, turtles, several species of monkey. Weasel cats (small panthers), ocelots, and many tortoises. Quite a fun trip.

The canoe back to the lodge went without incident. As we traveled to the lodge we passed the support town - quite poor compared to the lodge. Dinner, Alice in the pool with the bats still flying around, and the day is done.

Tomorrow we leave the Amazon and make our way back up into the Andes. It will be strange leaving the behind the hot (well, 90s) and humid tropics for the much cooler Andes and the “City of the Clouds.”

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