A Walk in the Forest

Not just any Forest the freaking Amazon Rain Forest. We headed down to the Boot Room, or Booty Room or even the Boot Barn to put on our big giant rubber boots that one wears in the forest. The hotel provides these and you put your shoes in a cubby until you return. It’s convenient and boots are much needed to keep out the mud, muck and things that want to bite you. The canoes are much like the long boats we used in Thailand.

The motor on the boat started on the first pull, always a good omen, and with that our tour group split into two boats off we went up the river. The Napo river is one of thousands of rivers that are tributaries to the Amazon. The whole Amazon basin is the size of the USA and it includes the countries of Columbia, Peru and Bolivia. The Napo is one of the few rivers that flow north, something I never thought much of but when the sun is setting in the west your brain bends a little trying to figure what wrong, its flowing the wrong way. Another thing is that the banks and sand bars are covered with smooth rounded river rocks. Bazillions of them! After spending too much money over the years buying these type of rocks at Home Depot, I estimated I was looking at millions of dollars of river rock. Funny how the brain works. To Ecuadorians the rocks are probably just a pain in the ass for landing their boats without a scratch.

Our long boats churned their way upstream before landing at a small beach that one could easy pass by, but this one had a sign noting that it was an Ecological Preserve. We quickly realized why we all needed to wear the big dorky boots.

The path was muddy, mucky, slick and covered with leaves and hidden roots wanted to grab your foot if you were not careful. The preserve volunteers keep the path maintained, installed handrails in the more tricky sections and have even fashioned “stairs” from wood planks covered with plastic mesh. It was tough going.

A two mile loop took two hours with several stops to look at the plants and trees. Our tour guide was a biology teacher in college and pointed out species of fauna and what was unique about them, some had healing properties, some had poisons and whatever the indigenous people used them for.

His assistant stayed ahead of the pack finding frogs, ant nests, tarantulas, weird batshit crazy looking insects while also carrying his machete. We felt safe and informed.

Fun fact: ants will attack any birds or monkeys that land on their tree except the sloth. I thought that maybe the sloth was too slow and they felt bad if they started stinging it, but no stupidio gringo. The sloth’s poop gave a special nutrients to the tree unlike the other ….pain in the….ants. The ants know this and leave their pinchers off the sloth.

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