Amazon Backwaters and Getting Lost (Not Just Figuratively)

Our 3rd day continued with a canoe ride into the backwaters and our 4th and final day culminated with getting lost in the rainforest.

IMG_2108After visiting with the local family (last posting) and lunch back at our pousada, my husband and I left the kids hanging in hammocks and went canoeing in the backwaters with our guide.

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Our ears only heard the sounds of paddles dipping in water and the occasional bird call; how wonderful to have a break from city noise pollution. IMG_2130

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Once on the open river, the small outboard motor was started and we took in the views.IMG_9109

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Day 4

After breakfast on our last day in the Amazon, my husband and I decided to go on one more hike with our guide (our kids were hiked out and chose to play darts and relax at the pousada). As we made our way by boat to the hiking trail, my husband brought up the topic of getting lost in the jungle. He related a news story he remembered about a couple who strayed off the trail near their hotel, got completely turned around, and wandered in the wrong direction for a couple of days, before finally finding a river and a passing boatman. How scary we thought, luckily the only things that bit them were mosquitos.

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Check the size of this mosquito

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Our guide slowed the boat as we neared the over hanging branches and vines near shore. We scrambled up the bank and began following. It wasn’t a trail in the classic sense of well beaten path or trail markers on trees. This trail was barely discernible as a trail and our guide hacked palm fronds and branches with his machete to leave marks (instead of bread crumbs). As before, our guide named and explained the uses of various rainforest plants and trees. We passed wasp nests, termite nests, armadillo burrows, and tapir footprints. Many of the rainforest animals are nocturnal but we were excited to see a poison dart frog and caught glimpses of a few monkeys high in the trees.

After walking at least an hour, our guide took us through a very overgrown section, where he hacked with his machete and we ducked under branches, wove in-between vines and low growth, and stepped over fallen trees and palm fronds. I was very glad to be wearing jeans, long sleeves, and my (I hope this keeps spiders out of my hair) baseball cap. Finally we cleared the tangled growth and hopped over a natural ditch (Actually my husband and guide hopped I added an extra slip and sit in the mud step.)

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One thing nice about hiking in the rainforest, there is plenty of shade. We were hot and our clothes were sticking to the combo of sweat and bug repellant but it was bearable. Just as my husband and I started to wonder how much longer we would be walking, our guide turned us around and we began backtracking. My husband and I were attentive to our surroundings and noticed when we started walking in circles. Hmmmm? The guide paused and I heard him mumble under his breath, “Okay, stay calm”.

I thought, “Oh great! My husband told that story about the lost couple and now we’re lost in the jungle.” It was a bit unsettling, but we had several hours of daylight left and I was very glad the kids weren’t with us. We followed our guide on another circle going left at a fork – my gut said we should go right.  Our guide was looking for the trail markers he had made with his machete, but he had led us through such a dense jumble of jungle earlier he couldn’t find his marks. At one point the guide said, “Wait!” and walked out of sight. Hmmmm? “He’s coming back, right?” My husband and I talked strategy for finding our way out just in case. The guide returned unsuccessful at finding his markers and we went back to the previous fork and turned right. I discovered that taking lots of photos comes in handy when trying to backtrack because you can look through where you’ve been; finally we found familiar terrain. In the end we were only lost for 30 minutes, but still had to hike another hour to get back to our boat. We were so happy to see that weathered old boat.

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Near our pousada, this big guy was climbing on tree branches hanging over the river

We packed up and said goodbye and thank you to our host Nilson and our guide Terry for an unbelievable adventure.

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As we rode by boat back to Manaus, I reflected on our experiences as the clouds reflected on the water. AMAZING!IMG_9202

Previous Amazon Posts

Day 1 – https://wanderlusting4life.com/2015/04/26/off-grid-with-kids-in-the-brazilian-amazon/

Day 2 – https://wanderlusting4life.com/2015/04/28/into-the-rainforest-we-go/

Day 3 – https://wanderlusting4life.com/2015/05/04/visiting-a-brazilian-amazon-family-with-a-backyard-pharmacy

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