Thursday, May 21: Today we’ll do a 30-minute walk to the jungle canopy tower (below) for spectacular views of the forest and river. This could represent a bit of a challenge. I’m crossing my fingers that my RA treatment holds out for this 25 meter climb (which translates to roughly 82 feet), but just in case I need a little assist, I’ll take along my predizone pills. I’ve simply got to make it on this once in a lifetime travel opportunity! Whatever it takes!
Five minutes down river from our lodge , Refugio Amazonas, is the Community Ethnobotanical Center where we’ll take a couple of short hikes to learn more about how Peru uses their forest resources. We’ll learn how Brazil nuts are harvested, dried and transported, and perhaps (?) an easier way to peel them–just as I learned to easily cut and present a pineapple on our first trip to Hawaii.
After lunch, there’s a 40-minute foot hike to explore the lake system of Condenado Lake, known for its abundance of bird and aquatic life, culminating in a paddle canoe adventure where we’ll hope to observe giant otters known to live there. Some of the bird species include tiger herons, great egrets, wattled jacanas, hoatzin (a bird that’s been around since prehistoric times) and the noisy donacobius.
After dinner back at the hotel, which I presume will be in candlelight due to the fact there’s no electricity, there will be an optional night walk to look for more amphibians and insects. Since the mosquitoes here are reputedly day feeders, one can only hope they’ll be asleep, but it would be nice to see and hear some frogs. We’ll all need a great night’s sleep because tomorrow we’ll move on to Cuzco, where the elevation is well over 11,000 ft.
As I’ve often heard, all roads ultimately lead home in one way or another. If you’ve ever slept on a river, then I’m sure I don’t need to describe the melodic sounds of frogs and crickets indulging in a night time singfest. I can just imagine the sounds of the jungle tonight when we’re back in our windowless room with that whole wall open to the forest. I imagine it’ll be a lot like when I was growing up in the old farmhouse in Florida near a frog-friendly pond in a thick cluster of scrub oaks. Hummm, I sure wish I had a recorder to tape the sounds so I could play them back whenever I’m back home having trouble sleeping.