Along the Inca Road

March 21, 2010

Amazon River, Peru

Today we traveled down river to where the Napo River meets the Amazon and forms the Amazon River proper. Our destination was the Explorama Lodge on the Napo River to walk along the top of the forest.

As nature would have it in the rain forest, it was raining and it would be an all day rain. Leaving Ceiba Lodge before sunrise we encountered small swells as we headed downriver. At the point where the Napo River meets the Amazon we turned left and headed northwest to reach the Napo River lodge.

Our boat driver found the inlet to Napo lodge and within ten minutes were are the lodge. Breakfast was by kerosene lamp becauser there is no electricity at this lodge and it was still dark. In fact the amenities are quite basic here and this made the lodge that much more relaxing. After breakfast we prepared for the 45 minute hike to the location where we would climb up to the tops of the forest and see the rainforest from a perspective few people get to experience.

Breakfast by kerosene lantern.

The rain was still falling as we entered the muddy trail, heading east. Directions are hard to figure out because the sky in normally blotted out by forest's vegetaion. While we thought the rain would keep the mosquitos down we would soon find out that was not the case.

The trail to the canopy. This was considered a freeway for us.

Within a few minutes it became apparent we were not alone. It wasn't the buzzing or humming of the mosquitoes that told us we had company but rather the sensation of pain here and there on the face and hands as we walked along the trail.What made it worse was the steep trail, the constant rain and the rising humidity as we made our way towards the canopy steps. These mosquitos were not the same ones we had encounterd further up the river near Iquitos, these were BAD mosquitos.

Eventually we made to the top of the forest canopy and the mosquitos gave us a rest for a very brief time..

Joan 150 feet above the forest floor.

The walk above the floor revealed flowers and epiphytes which are never seen when walking through the jungle.

An epiphyte healthy and happy in the rain forest.

The view across the canopy. You can't see the forest floor and when you're on the forest floor you can't see the sky. This makes a rain forest a very easy place to get lost.

Joan and I stop for a breather. Joan was the only one prepared with her mosquito hat net.

She could have sold it for $1,000.00 that day!

On our way down we came across more rain forest creatures. Most, as is the case in the jungle are dangerous.

This Harvestman Daddy-long legs was resting on leaf next to the trail. We left him alone. Conventional wisdom says Daddy Long Legs are not venemous. But, in the Amazon conventional wisdom goes out the door.

Our last stop of the day was to visit a shaman who uses the jungle's plants and fruits to cure. After our canopy walk we went further from the river to this spot which resembles the opening scenes of The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Our shaman or curandero showed us the plants he uses to make potions to cure a host of ailmenta and injuries. Just now scientists are discovering that the rainforest contains hunders of plants, fruits and seeds that do cure or prevent many illness and conditions known to modern man. We had a chance to taste these potions and some were not that tasty.

After spending time with the curandero it was time to return up river to our lodge. We had gone down stream on the Amazon, dropping some 50 feet in elevation before heading upstream to the where the Napo River empties into the Amazon. Now it was time to retrace our journery. As we headed downstream, with the Atlantic Ocean some 2800 miles to the east and the headwaters of the Amazon 1700 to the west we came to the spot where both rivers joined. The current is swift and the river is five miles wide at this spot. Hugging the bank we turn right or west to go back upstream to our lodge.

This lone canoe was also heading upstream taking advantage of the river eddy along the bank.

As we made our way upriver we came across other boat heading towards Iquitos in the late afternoon.


Tomorrow would be our last day in the rain forest and we hoped the weather would be better.

Everyone was headed upriver to Iquitos to call it a day.

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