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Friday, 03 July 2009

Choose Your Own Adventure: Ecuadorian Rain Forest - Page 3

Written by Steve Bramucci
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You arrive in the surprisingly bustling city of Tena, Ecuador after an incredible week spent in the Galapagos Islands.  Tena is the last major outpost before a hundred or so miles of jungle and then Peru. Bisected by rivers, the town hosts five different Adventure Travel Operators offering tours that all seem to be interesting and perfectly fun.  You:

A) Sign up for one of these tours.

B) Decide to go a different direction by renting a bike and trying to find a lagoon along the Rio Anzu (recommended by a local), using a map drawn on a napkin.

Finally, around noon by your best guess the rain lets up enough to go outside of the tent.  You stand and realize just how shockingly, appallingly, mind-numbingly lucky you actually were.  The river has risen by four or five feet in some places, at least two in most places.  You however were protected on all sides by those granite boulders and your camp site hasn't changed much at all.  Don't go patting yourself on the back just yet, Bear Grylls, remember that you chose it because it was "idyllic" not "well protected." Either way, you're not out of the woods.  You will have to find a way to get your backpack and bike back above the cascade and onto the path.  You spend the day trying to find navigable eddies near the banks of the river where you can wade with your gear to shore and then wind through the jungle back to a rickety bridge over the lagoon.  The spot that was so peaceful yesterday is now absolutely raging with whitewater.


You work through most of the day, drink the last of your water and use a safety rope tied to a rock so that you can splash around in the lagoon without getting pulled over the falls.  Finally, you begin the bike ride back toward civilization trying to get there before darkness falls, racing down hill, knowing that you have to make it back to Quito on a six-hour bus that night for your flight to Los Angeles at nine in the morning.  With more butterflies fluttering around you, tropical birds calling from somewhere in the distance and the fog wound tightly around the treetops, you realize:

A) There are things and places that you will visit that can never live up to the way they were described in the books you read as a boy. The rainforest is not one of them.

B) You will absolutely be back here one day.

C) Both of the above.

©Steve Bramucci

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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