Did you know they sometimes experience a “cold snap” in the Amazon?
We did not know this until our first night. But we’re Canadians. We’re no strangers to sub-zero temperatures. This unexpected rainforest cold-snap provided us with an excellent night of sleep. We awoke refreshed. Since our missing suitcase contained our toiletries, there wasn’t much we could do with ourselves, so we just lay around resting, listening to the sound of our fellow guests perched up on the nearby tower with their binoculars, eager to spot early-morning jungle life. When we heard them climb back down, we decided it must be breakfast time, so we headed to the lodge.
Upon entering, I was pleased to find that all the tables had been pushed together to create one long communal table. At last!
This is how we met Evan and Amy, the biologists whom we were grouped together with for expeditions. I asked them how the trek had gone the night before, and they were delighted to tell us about all the amazing things they saw. My heart sank, as I realized we should’ve insisted on going along with them. Lesson learned!
We also met an older couple and their teenage daughter. The dad was wearing a jungle-expedition shirt with a small “Monsanto” logo embroidered on it.
We were told that Willy, the guide whom Andrew and I were to share with Evan and Amy, was sick and could not guide us today. But he had arranged another guide to bring us along on their jungle hike.
A jungle hike! I love hiking! I was thrilled. And kind of chomping at the bit to get going already. I’d done enough resting!
So it turns out Andrew, me, and the biologists were being grouped together with the Monsanto family. What an interesting mix.
The seven of us guests were ushered onto one boat. One little tippy wooden boat. AND our guide. AND the guy operating the motor. So, nine of us. When I realized ALL of us were going to share ONE boat, I felt like leaping outta there. But I kept quiet. We all fit. It all worked.
Off we went!
It was a GORGEOUS morning for exploring!
We were given an extensive list of all the flora and fauna we might potentially see:
As we’re not that observant, I don’t think checked very many of those items off our list.
To me, this photo looks like a painting:
Venturing into ever-smaller tributaries of the Amazon River…
And then… we all stepped out of the boat. Our jungle hike was beginning!
They showed us how they use these branches for all their roofing:
We tried our hand at swinging from vines.
I suck at it:
Andrew’s skills put me to shame:
I wore a Canada Post hat I found at the thrift shop:
We were shown a tree that, when cut, releases a natural iodine!
See? I had a little cut so I put the tree-sap stuff on it. It worked quite excellently.
A tree you can drink from! All you have to do is chop it with your handy machete:
It was very cool and refreshing.
This tree looks dark, mysterious, and foreboding… the epitome of everything I was expecting from the rainforest:
In the midst of surroundings like these, it felt like dinosaurs could come running out at us at any moment:
Turns out I’m quite the tarantula-spotter. I was the last person in the expedition, everyone else walked right by, so I assumed they’d all seen it and it wasn’t a big deal.
“Oh, a tarantula,” I remarked as I casually strolled by.
Everything stopped. “A TARANTULA?!?” They all came hurrying back.
We spent the next 20 minutes watching Amy play with the tarantula. It was getting a little irate… and this is how I learned that tarantulas can jump. It’s terrifying.
He looks pissy.
I really liked Amy. She told me that tarantulas won’t kill you. Just hurt you a lot. Like a bee. To some, this may sound horrific, but I’m not really afraid of bees. I’ve been stung on many occasions, and yeah it HURTS and tears squeeze out of my eyes, but obviously I’m not allergic. I’m always fine. So, to hear a tarantula compared to a bee, made me relax a bit.
Not that I wanted to hold it. GOSH NO! Gah!
We hiked on.
We spent some time watching monkeys high up in the trees.
Monkeys freak me out. I did not come on this trip because I love monkeys. I never want to touch one. I can’t understand why other people find them so adorable. To me, they look gross and disease-infested. But, from far away, it was neat to watch them leap from branch to branch. As long as they didn’t come too close. Which they didn’t, because they were wild and shy.
Suddenly we emerged from the forest and found ourselves in a village!
It’s a village that straddles a river channel.
The kids make jungle animals their pets!
We saw the school house, saw boys playing soccer, and girls playing volleyball. Those girls have mad skills.
Back in the boat… I was extremely muddy. The Lodge provides the rubber boots. I can’t imagine going on this trek without them.
As we made our way back to the lodge, we saw dolphins! They jump. We never managed to get a picture of that, though.
We went directly to the main lodge for lunch, a bunch of hungry trekkers, eager to tell the other Treehouse guests about our adventures.
This crispy fried fish on top was utterly delightful and might’ve been my favourite main from our stay at the Treehouse Lodge.
During mealtime, we planned our respective afternoon activities. Andrew and I were going to go fishing for piranhas! We had 50 minutes to get ready.
We returned to our treehouse, and were quietly laying on our beds, when I heard it… clack-clack-clack-clack-clack… and running feet. It was getting closer… and closer…
I went to look out the window, and saw Ronnie trotting gracefully over the bridge toward our treehouse, holding our missing suitcase triumphantly above his head.
It felt like all our dreams were coming true! We were eternally grateful. Thank-you thank-you thank-you!
Next up — we go hunting for piranhas!