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Friday, 03 July 2009

Choose Your Own Adventure: Ecuadorian Rain Forest

Written by  Steve Bramucci
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You arrive in the surprisingly bustling city of Tena, Ecuador after an incredible week spent in the Galapagos Islands.  Tena is the last major outpost before a hundred or so miles of jungle and then Peru. Bisected by rivers, the town hosts five different Adventure Travel Operators offering tours that all seem to be interesting and perfectly fun.  You:

A) Sign up for one of these tours.

B) Decide to go a different direction by renting a bike and trying to find a lagoon along the Rio Anzu (recommended by a local), using a map drawn on a napkin.

Choose Your Own Adventure: Ecuadorian Rain Forest, travel adventure ecuador, funny travel stories, travel ecuador rainforestYou arrive in the surprisingly bustling city of Tena, Ecuador after an incredible week spent in the Galapagos Islands.  Tena is the last major outpost before a hundred or so miles of jungle and then Peru. Bisected by rivers, the town hosts five different Adventure Travel Operators offering tours that all seem to be interesting and perfectly fun.  You:

A) Sign up for one of these tours.

B) Decide to go a different direction by renting a bike and trying to find a lagoon along the Rio Anzu (recommended by a local), using a map drawn on a napkin.

Interesting choice! From the best you can ascertain using your wobbly Spanish skills, the spot you are looking for is approximately twenty miles away, slightly uphill.  You begin your ride at eight in the morning with all of your camping equipment strapped to your back.  Speaking of equipment, you:

A) Bring insect repellent and extra batteries for your flashlight.

B) Bring along Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Of course you did! Who needs insect repellent in the Amazon Basin?  But at least you're taking a book that you've read 70 times along.  You pedal through town and toward your intended destination.  When the pavement gives way to rocks and mud you know you're headed in the right direction.  While marveling at just how heavy your backpack is, you find that there is a screw pointing upwards from the bicycle seat and poking into your most tender areas. You:

A) Begin to curse the seat, the bike, and your backpack for increasing the gravitational force that pulls you into it.

B) Notice an eighty-year-old woman gathering wood and carrying it in a basket held by a strap across her forehead and decide that you never have the right to complain again.  Ever.

Bravo! You were able to do both things simultaneously.  Though I don't know if the bike will ever forgive you for the things you said about it.  You continue riding and arrive at the place your napkin map indicates as the beginning of a slight incline.  You soon realize that you have apparently mistranslated the phrase "slight incline" -- the intended translation should have been "straight uphill for five miles."  Finally, by mid-afternoon you arrive at your destination.  The lagoon is incredible, a pool carved by a stream and tumbling over a series of cascades into the river.  You:

A) Camp here on high, even ground.

B) Set camp another half-mile away, on a patch of sand surrounded by granite boulders on the banks of the big river because it seems more idyllic.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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