I wake up to familiar bird tones, bugs, and the clunking boards of the lodge. I jump out of bed, do some quick stretches, then grab the pre-breakfast coffee, and enjoy the fog lying gently over the river. It’s a pretty good way to start my jungle day. Since today is my last full day in the jungle, we planned to travel and explore the terra firme one more time. So we feed ourselves a giant breakfast and mosey onto the boats. Along the way, a monkey hangs over our boat barely holding onto a branch. This is super cool to see and we are only 30 minutes into our trip. Several exotic birds are spotted as we make our way along the river. There have been so many beautiful birds to see on this trip, I understand why many people travelling have bird encyclopedias and mark off all that they see. After two hours or so in the boat, we arrive. Quickly, the boat is unloaded and lunch is set aside. Before we make it onto the trail, we check the first bromeliad flower and there are four poison dart frogs. Four of them all in the same area!
(a crazy lobster looking bug we foound above and this giant lady bug about the size of my thumb)
This is rare because they are territorial creatures and fight for their space. We move past the frogs and onto the trail. Our guide Claudio checks every sign for life. He is very observant. Today’s target; find me a snake. Now, I don’t really care because snakes make me slightly uncomfortable. I can handle spiders and crawlers and piranha but no snakes for me thank you. Apparently, everyone who is staying at the lodge has seen a snake, so it seems like a mission for the guides to find one for me. About 10 minutes into the trip, Claudio spots a small head peaking out from under a log. A baby fer de lance sits quietly and very camouflaged right in our path. So this is the third most venomous snake in the world, so it’s no big deal. I feel a little hesitant but also very excited. As we start taking pictures, the crazy Swedish biologist (Fredrik) and Claudio are like inches away from this thing. I come to the conclusion that we do not share the same fears. After what seems like an hour (3 minutes to be exact), we leave the baby venomous snake to itself and continue.
Freddy has been looking to study a specific frog here in the jungle called the red Juacari. So we spot one but are unable to snag it for a photo. This is really cool and they are very beautiful. We move forward and find salamanders, and giant butterflies the size of my head! Some vines we find provide us with a little Tarzan action. We have been enjoying ourselves today with all the activities the jungle has to offer us.
(This little frog looks like a small dragon and is so rare to find)
At about 2:00 pm, we head back to the boat to prepare food. For some reason, the bugs today are very nagging. You can’t close your eyes without feeling like a venus fly trap. About half way through lunch I become a little annoyed and antsy. Even walking around doesn’t help today. I must be tasty for the insects. Immediately after we finish, I try and incentivize the crew to head back onto the boat so we can get moving away from the bugs. It only works so well, but we move on relatively quick after lunch. Back on to the boats and headed home feels much better than sitting in that bug trap. Along the way, the red titi monkeys on the side of the river captivate our attention for some time. They are difficult to spot from the river. One of them even found our trash bag and decided to rummage through it.
Once back at the lodge, we pile out of the boat to get ready for our last soccer game. Tonight is a physical game but all in good fun. There are even a few injuries. We lose 3-2 but it was so much fun to play. This will be my last game in the jungle and last swim in the Amazon. Dinner again is so good; I can’t believe I have eaten so well this trip. I have truly been blessed. Freddy has been asked to make a presentation on poison dart frogs and his knowledge and picture slide show are really incredible. Every one in the dining hall is captivated. Some of his photographs are unreal, they look staged but he is just a really good photographer. We stay for some time and chat about frogs and what we’ve seen in the jungle, and no one leaves the lodge tonight. We decided, for our last night, we would watch a movie in the hammock room. About 20 minutes or so into the movie, I reflect and drift in and out of sleep. The hammock is just too darn comfortable. A really lazy walk back to bed at about 12:00 am or so and this is my last night in the jungle. I feel so thankful and so blessed for this opportunity.