We just got back from one night in the jungle. We stayed with the Sacha Wasi tribe, along the Puyo river. Our thatched roof huts were simple,with a bed and mosquito netting, nothing less, nothing more. Our guide had 2 names ; Richard (guiding name) and Cooquitoto ( indigenous name). For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to him as Richard.
Our first adventure was a 6 km walk to a waterfall. The trail was thick with foliage, mud and the heat of the day. Our rubber boots sank ankle deep. and upon release made a great noisw of suction. Richard asked us to be quiet, so as to not scare the animals. It was virtually impossible for us to do this. The fact that we are city people rang through the forest with our every footstep. The walk was arduous with lots of steep inclines and slippery slopes. The effort had our hearts beating and our shirts soaked with sweat. There was a moment where we paused in discouragement. Every step felt like an eternity, the waterfall far out of our reach.
I put my mind forward into the task at hand. I approached the walk like I would a meditation. With every step I felt the Earth beneath my feet. I opened my ears to all the sounds of the jungle; the insects, the birds and yes, the sound of boots squishing in the mud. My vision became aware, of all the different shades of greens, the beautiful colours of flowers, the moss clinging to trees and rocks. The jungle is amazing in its expression of life. It vibrates in so many ways and it touched me deep within. There is a feeling of healing that can be found among the foliage and trees, there is peace and tranquility at the centre of the sounds and smells.
At a certain distance in our trek, Richard stops and asks us to wait. We stood and waited, appreciating the rest. He returned with a handful of fruit that reminded me of rambutan. He twisted them open to reveal small red seeds. The seeds were not edible but face paint. He first, took Owen and Drew warrior lines along his cheeks and forehead. We were all blessed with the jungle fruit paint and the anaconda tribe was born. This gave us strength to move on and we found our inner warriors. Hope returned and found renewed faith in our mission. We would become successful in attaining our goal to the waterfall. Richard also used his machete to craft Jay a walking stick.
In time with perseverance we began to hear the sounds of cascading water. Another, twenty minutes and we stepped down into a river. There we set down our backpacks, hid behind trees and put on our bathing suits. We walked up the stream which was waist deep. Our boots filled up with water, the biggest soaker, ever. Our passage was a long corridor with walls of green foliage clinging to the walls of rock. Sunshine made its way through creating beams of sparkling light. If ever, I have seen Eden, this would be it. The sound of the waterfall was loud, and we soon put our boots aside and swam and at this moment the waterfall greeted us in all it's glory. It fell from meters high into a beautiful pool of water, an oasis. A tree grew near the centre which gave us a great jumping point into the centre of the waterfalls bubbling water. It was a moment of ecstasy, of amazement and beauty. When Owen gets excited he flaps his arms and there was some arm flaps, for sure.
We arrived at our village, famished. Our cook made us the greatest soup, chicken and rice. We ate with great hunger and appreciation. That night we slept under the refuge of our mosquito nets, our bodies heavy with the exhaustion of our efforts of the day.
The next morning we woke up to the sounds of the jungle and a canoe adventure. Our dug out canoe sat the five of us and our navigateur comfortably. The boat rocked back and forth with the force of the rapids. I held my breath as I feared tipping over with our camera gear. Owen scared me with his jerky movements and restlessness. We made it down without tipping over, thank god!
Richard waited for us on shore and we walked to another village with a panoramic view of the puyo river. We walked up steep steps and again found our hearts beating in our chests. The view at the top was amazing. Zoe most enjoyed the tree swing that swang over a cliff. After I tried it my legs shook with adrenaline. Zoe did it over and over again. If it were up to her we would still be there and her swinging.
Now we are back at Jean and Nancy's, taking it easy. The kids are tired and sun logged and that comes with some whining. Anywhere we are in the world. there is always some moments where I need to find my reserve of patience or lack thereof.
Tomorrow, we leave Puyo and head towards Banos where we will find more adventures. Stay tuned!