Day 3: Lost in the jungle!


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South America » Ecuador » East » Shiripuno River
August 25th 2006
Published: August 26th 2006
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Our morning hike was full of adrenaline. We actually departed by starting on a trail right behind the lodge and just going. After spotting a tarantula and a spider, we stopped to eat lemon ants, so called because the first person ever to eat one apparently had never eaten a lemon before. They tasted more vinegary than anything else, but it was definitely a new experience to eat little creepy crawlies right off of a branch. I´ll try to get the photos up soon.

Then we saw some wooly monkeys.

All of a sudden, Jose decides to bolt after them. So we ditch the trail and head in the direction of the monkeys, following them whereever they went. We find them and are able to get fairly close to them and take a good look. The monkey eventually disappear and we´re left standing there in the middle of the rainforest. Jose turns to us and says "I have no idea where we left the trail." We all look at each other. He says "I don´t know what happened, it all looks the same." And it did. In every direction, it was just trees, plants and the distant noises of animals. We start to get really worried when Jose asks us how much food and water we have. Eventually we agree upon a direction that we think we came from and start heading there. Jose is being completely useless. He has no idea where we are. So we keep going, trying to head in a straight line. We pass a ditch that looks familiar. But we´re afraid of a Blair Witch type deal and its worse because its the middle of the damn jungle with nothing for hundreds of miles.

Anyway, seeing as Im writing this now, youve figured out that we made it alive. Jose was just humouring us, and we nearly killed him when we found out, but at the same time we were happy to see that we could get ourselves out of trouble even if we were lost. It would be absolutely terrifying to truly be lost in rainforest, because theres nothing for hundreds of miles except trees and the occasional river.

So the tally of animals spotted for the day was:
- Wooly monkeys
- Spider monkeys
- Black monkeys
- Tarantulas
- Tiger herons
- Frogs that looked like leaves
- Bats
- Snakes
- Lots of ants, including tasty ones
- and so much more.

In the afternoon we went swimming and played around with the cooks grandchildren in the water. That evening, it poured, rain forest style. When it rains it really rains. The good thing is that the bugs mostly disappeared, but it cut our evening short.

Anyway, this was our last full day in the rainforest. It was an amazing experience. Apart from the incredible wildlife, just being in the middle of the jungle was unbelievable. It was like being at camp, but in the middle of nowhere. Learning to adapt to life without electricity, with bugs jumping at you as soon as you turned your flashlight on, learning to plan your day around the sun rising and setting, taking siestas in hammocks, and simply loving it all was great. I was definitely more of a daytime person, because I wasn´t a big fan of all the bugs coming out at night, but I even learned to deal with that, and got a lot closer to nature than ever before.

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