Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Inca Trail Marathon Adventure Day 11 - Refugio Amazonas Day 2

Feeling slightly better, but still had a dumb headache. Desperately wanted to go on the morning excursion -- PIRANHA FEEDING!!!  So I dosed myself with Immodium (hey, it works). Told Erik we might need to bail, but that we'd make a map to find our way back to the lodge. Erik said, "You two wanna do EVERYTHING, so I know you must be really sick if you're thinking of not going." :)

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walking in the forest

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me, Jesus, and my toucan stick

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don't I look jaunty?

We visited a canopy tower, which was spooky high though very sturdy and not swaying in any way. It was pretty cool to be high up in the rainforest, spotting all the big trees. Less fun climbing down!

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#canopyusie

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high. high.

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We hiked for about an hour, stopping to spot monkeys (MONKEYS!!! IN THE RAIN FOREST!!!), and learn about leaf-cutter ants, which are completely amazing. Okay, it doesn't sound exciting, but seeing them serving the group … that giant group-think… was super cool. I spent parts of the afternoon daydreaming about the queen ant, how everyone thinks she's a queen, but she's really just a slave, locked in a room and forced to produce offspring… Discuss amongst yourselves.

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omg I love leaf ants

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leaf ants on parade

We also learned about my New Favorite Tree -- the Walking Tree. If it sees an opportunity for better light, it will stretch out a new root from its trunk… and start pulling itself toward it. It may take 30 years to cross a one-yard gap, but this tree can MOVE!

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walking tree!

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Hiked to the lake, where we climbed into canoes. Mark was with us, and given that he'd witnessed my slip and fall the night before, was VERY HELPFUL getting everyone into the boat. No one wants to see me fall down twice!

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Jesus and Dagger bailing
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careful!

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Myra and Erik watching from the bank

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#canoeusie

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We paddled across the lake; dozens of butterflies, some bats, lots of sunshine.

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the little lumps are bats

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bats

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BATS!

On the other side we got out and walked to see two of the largest trees in the refuge -- one a massive kapok tree, the other a giant strangler fig. Wil, Jenny, Myra, and I all climbed inside the hollow trunk to take a #stranglerfigusie -- cute!

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#stranglerfigusie

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looking up the hollow trunk

It was only after we piled out that Jesus told us that strangler figs, because of their hollow trunks, are often home to bats, snakes, and spiders. Ha ha ha!

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Erik climbing a strangler fig vine

Then back to the boats, where we paddled slowly back around, feeding fish (some piranha!) as we went. I also picked up a butterfly hitchhiker on my hand. It was funny, I could actually feel his little tongue. Hope he liked salt!

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piranha!

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Wil's hitchhiker

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my hitchhiker

The walk back to the lodge was shorter, more direct, which was good because I was pretty beat. And muddy.

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muddy!

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At lunch we found our meal pre-plated and under a "bug screen" -- a HUGE portion of mashed potatoes and veggies, which was delicious and exactly the comfort food I wanted.

After lunch I decided to just relax, so I lounged in the hammock reading magazines and napping.

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shower with a view!

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monkey in camp!

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cute "squirrel"-like rodents

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so cute!

Wil went on a walk to a clay lick where there was a slim chance of seeing wild pigs. They didn't have any luck, but Wil said he really enjoyed just sitting quietly in the jungle for an hour. Oh, and they saw a GREAT BIG TARANTULA!!!

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Kathy on the walk

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TARANTULA!

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the lodge at night

Still feeling a bit tender at dinner, but decided against taking the malarial pill #3 -- which I still think was a good decision for me.

After dinner Wil and I went with Dagger on a night walk -- we were the only takers?!? We saw huge moths and spiders, including one that spins a net between his front two legs and sneaks up on prey and catches them. Snap.

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butterfly chrysalis -- moving and wiggling

At one point Dagger grabbed my hand excitedly and pulled me through the forest saying, "Lady! Lady! Quickly!" We saw a rare pikoru, which is a big, cute rodent with a speckled coat like a fawn. When we told Jesus the next morning that we'd seen one, and that Dagger was excited, Jesus said, "he was probably excited because they taste very good." HA!

pikuro image from jarfullofstars.com

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