|My 'ride' down to Puerto Maldanado|
|Cardinal a the airport terminal|
For $200 American dollars we signed up for three days and four nights of room and board in the Peruvian Rain forest jungle. There we can pick and choose from a number of outdoor adventures offered daily. We were pretty pleased with our decision for the week, and our first task was getting to the our adventure spot. So, along with another couple of travelers, an Aussie and his Peruvian sweetheart, the adventure hosts stuffed us into taxis and drove us the three miles to the river's edge. There we were in view of the Puerto Maldonado bridge, over which cars and trucks traveled high overhead. A few hundred feet below we could see river boats, and I could see I was never going to be able to get down the hill with my luggage and without broken ankles. As I secretly pondered the sturdiness or lack thereof of my ankles, one of the adventure guides picked up my two travel bags and marched downhill at a rapid pace. Relieved, I followed him, and Ingrid to the first of our week's adventures - 'crossing a chunk of log crossing over a steep ravine adventure'.
|Ingrid crossing the log bark footbridge|
|Ingrid and fellow travelers trotting down the 'Slippery Steep Slope Adventure' |
followed by the 'Plank Over the Mud Adventure'
Soon we were seated in the narrow boat, sailing east along the Madre de Dios River.
|Boating the Madre de Dios River|
|Yakari Eco Lodge river landing|
|Little Lucy, the White-collared Peccary by the dining hall porch|
|We had electricity for several hours a day for charging up our devises|
|Ingrid, in our room, resting up from her last Jungle Adventure|
Believe it or not, I took a pass on the tour. Instead I stayed behind to do some birding around the grounds.
I gathered up my little traveling chair, my camera and binocs and headed out. First thing I noticed was high up there were lots of hanging nests.
|One of the nest builders - a Russet-backed Orpendola birds|
|Squawking Orange-backed Troupial|
|Green and White Hummingbird|
Here's the kicker; I did not go birding alone. Nope! Little Lucy, the pet camp White-collared Peccary/Javalina, followed me around like a loyal dog. Whenever I sat, she would lean against my legs, begging for scratches. She would then plop onto her side, legs up, imploring me to rub her fat tummy. OK. I fell in love with the pig. I swear, I am going to stuff her in my suitcase and smuggle her back to Fair Oaks.
At one point I was sitting, waiting for some cardinals to return to a post, when I saw something walk out of the jungle foliage. I was thrilled to see a Brown Agouti, an oversized rodent, the size of a pekinese dog.
|The Brown Agouti that totted out of the Jungle|
The Agouti saw me, no doubt, but I was far enough off it sat on its haunches, quite relaxed. It stayed until a camp dog - a buddy of Lucy's - spotted it and chased it away. I wanted to murder the stupid dog!
|The wren-like, Pale-legged Hornero|
When the heat got to me, I decided to head back to my cabin and was excited to hear of Ingrid's Monkey Island Adventure when she returned.
Not long after sunset, both Ingrid and I went along on the last adventure of the day, an after dark cruise on the river, to look for wild Caiman, a relative of the alligator.
|A Caiman in the spotlight|
We spotted several Caiman, some in the river near the shore, and others, like the one above, on land. We were all impressed with our guide's ability to shine lights and miraculously spot the eyeshine of the foot to two foot long Caimans. Really enjoyed the night time cruise and I even got in some bird viewing, a roost of egrets piled in a tree. By the time we got back to our cabin I was totally ready to sink into bed, pull down the mosquito netting and get some shut eye.