We all rose very early – 5:20 a.m. – to take a sunrise boat trip, but it was raining and cloudy, so J.J., our guide, canceled the outing. Back to bed until 7 a.m. when an excellent breakfast of eggs and veggies was served – Yum!
Our group headed out on a 3.5 hour jungle hike, with J.J leading the way. The jungle was silent and the canopy high above our heads – at least 70-80′.
The hiking trails were easy to spot, and there were many of them. J.J. wound us around in all different direction, cutting off on one trail after another, to a point where I might have found it difficult to find my way back if I were alone. That’s saying a lot, as navigation is usually an easy thing for me with my biologically built-in compass.
There was little wildlife in the jungle – no monkeys swinging from trees, no creatures dashing across the forest floor except the occasional lizard, and very few birds. J.J. said it was a bad year for viewing animals – the various jungle tree fruits had not developed this year, and there was little food in the jungle to be eaten by the animals.
Along the trail J.J. pointed out a pitch tree, made it bleed, cut some small branches to make a torch, and lit the pitch on the end. It was highly flammable and burned very well. It was used as a traditional native night light by natives in the forest. He pointed out various medicinal trees and plants, a small frog with a horrendously loud croak, two very large tarantulas that he coaxed out of their hole in the ground (he called himself the “tarantula whisperer”), a “milk” tree, and a clove tree that gives water, tea, and it’s wood is used for making spoons.
We returned to the lodge for lunch, which was delicious – delicately fried Piranha and veggies. After an afternoon nap/rest, we all packed up our belongings, put them in storage holders, took our day-pack and strode off into the jungle for an overnight camping adventure with J.J. The hike lasted only an hour before we arrived at a blue tarp streched over a row of hammocks next to a stream.
J.J. had us running around collecting wet firewood from the forest floor, while he washed up the chicken and sausages in the nearby stream and stuck them on long pointed sticks he had freshly carved up with his giant knife.
He made up a large fire with the wet wood, and it roared into quite a large blaze, over which he then hung a pot of rice in water. When the rice was almost cooked he added a bunch of eggs in their shells into the same pot, and let them become hard-boiled for the next breakfast.
It was a lovely evening even though the woods were damp. There was no rain until the middle of the night, when it came down in torrents and we were all so grateful for the blue tarp above our heads.