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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Ecuador - 7 November, 2001

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start El Paisano, Misahualli, The Northern Oriente S0102.069' W07740.036' 386 m
Jungle walk . . . 5 km
Canoe ride, Rio Napo . . . 10 km
Finish Billy Clark Lodge, Rio Napo  S0106.296' W07735.545' 378 m

Leg 1 Total:

426 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

1,197 km

 

Weather: Begins cloudy, with occasional rain and cool.  In the afternoon, partly cloudy with occasional sun and hot.  Cool at night.

 

 

Ecuador01_Jungle_Day1_01_Group_C17_Web.jpg (112783 bytes)

Today we head into the jungle for three days.  After breakfast, we have to head down to the guide's office to pick out our wellies (rubber boots) that we will be wearing while we walk in the jungle.  Once we have picked them out - we all look very stylish - we head down to the river where we get into a couple of motorised canoes to head a short way down the river.

 

Ecuador01_Jungle_Day1_03_Boat_C19_Web.jpg (88245 bytes)

We go over some very small rapids and the canoe drivers execute a very professional u-turn in the fast flowing river, after which they put the nose of the canoe into the bank.  We scramble up a steep slope to the trail where we will start our walk.

 

Ecuador01_Jungle_Day1_04_Walk_Jac_C20_Web.jpg (137509 bytes)

We spend the next four hours walking on some fairly rough trails in the jungle.  We have to navigate very muddy patches - now I know where that expression "the sound of your money being sucked out of your pocket" comes from - we made some pretty good squelching sounds.  We also had to me careful that we did not leave our boots behind in the mud!  There were also some very steep up and down hill portions.  We knew that we were going to end up back at the river, so our net elevation change could not change by much, so whatever we climbed down, we would have to climb back up.  There were also a couple of steams to cross - but not too deep.

 

Along the way, some of the things that were pointed out to us included the nettles (make sure you avoid them), some snails, huge termite nests hanging from the trees (the garbage disposals of the jungle), a few flowers, a rubber tree (there was a rubber boom here until some English guy took a few seeds and planted them in Malaysia - but maybe it was a blessing as it saved many acres of the jungle being made into rubber plantations), bamboo trees, palms with buttress roots and lots and lots of ants.  Now I also know where the term "army" of ants comes from.  There were huge columns of them and they were huge ants - we did not want to mess with them.  There was the cool surgeon ant - if you have a cut you take a number of them and have them close their pincers over the wound and then rip off the back half of the body.  The pincers stay in place and you have a perfect stitches (and it works - it was demonstrated to us)!

 

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As we walked, it began to rain (this is the rain forest after all) and it was not too bad.  The canopy shielded us from the heavy stuff and it made the walk much cooler - otherwise we would have been hot and sweaty (either way we would have gotten wet)!  We arrived back at the river shortly after 2 PM and had lunch at a lodge on the banks of the river.  After lunch we relaxed for a while and played with some of the parrots that hung out there - they would sit on your arm and seemed to enjoy being petted.

 

Ecuador01_Jungle_Day1_14_Reserve_Tapir_C33_Web.jpg (135608 bytes)

Next on the agenda was a brief walk through a small game reserve - an area of land that was fenced off.  In some ways it is a little pathetic, but it is really the only way to see any non-insect animals in the jungle and it may save a few of them from being eaten.  We saw quite a few tortoises and two tapir who were fed by hand.  The tapir are a very strange looking animal - almost like it could not decide what it wanted to be.  It is a cross between a rhino and a horse.  It also walks in a very strange way, leaving its back leg extended out until the last minute.

 

Ecuador01_Jungle_Day1_Camp_Parrot_Lars_C36_Web.jpg (43075 bytes)

A short boat ride later, and we were at the lodge that we will stay at for the next two nights.  It is nice and basic - huts, with separate showers and toilet and no electricity.  Nice.  Before dinner we hang out and relax.  There is a resident parrot - no name- that we spent some time with.  AT that time he was quite excited - Ecuador had just qualified for the World Cup and he was yelling out "Ecuador"!  We tried to teach him "Lars" and "Mama Mia" (you can guess who tried to teach him that), but to no avail.  He did have quite a good vocabulary, though, and he loved to laugh when we laughed.  We had dinner, then hung out for a while and retired early.

 

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