Sunday, January 18, 2015

Day Twelve: The Rainforest

Day Twelve, Sunday, January 18: The Rainforest

And here is a little video from one of our boats in the marsh . . .

The morning started REALLY early as our main plan for today was to complete a hike in the rainforest above Atodi.  We had eggs for breakfast (YAY!) to prepare ourselves and then headed to the pousada to meet our guides. 

Instead of breaking into three small groups, we decided to stay one large group with all three of our guides.  We probably sacrificed the chance to see a few more monkeys and other animals, but being all together is nice.  As we began our hike, our lead guide (Nilson) pointed out that we were in the “second forest,” as it had been cut and planted for agricultural purposes and then allowed to grow back about twenty years ago.  We were headed for the “first forest,” with trees at least 400 years old.

Our method for experiencing the forest was to walk in single file (“like the Indians,” according to Nilson) and as someone in the line learned something from one of the guides, that person would pass it on through the line.  We no doubt warped a few facts in this massive game of telephone, but it still helped us to mostly get the same information. 

We learned about lots of different trees and their fruits, nuts and barks.  Almost every nut tree included shells and hulls that have medicinal properties; it seems that every portion of the nut itself was put to some use.  We tasted some of the fruits and nuts on our way up the relatively wide path, quietly enjoying being immersed in the rain forest. 

At a certain point, Nilson took a sharp right turn and things were immediately different.  The forest was darker and thicker, the trees there were more huge, and there were massive palm fronds that probably reached about thirty feet high from the ground.  We were in the “first forest.” 

Some of the trees there were hundreds of feet high, including the one that we would call the brazil nut tree.  Nilson pointed out nearly every single brazil nut tree that we passed, rapping it hard on the trunk with his machete and saying its name in Portuguese: “castanha.”  We tasted the meat of the brazil nut and really liked it. 

He showed us lots more barks, nuts and fruits, many of which have healing properties for specific ailments.  One is for liver problems, one is for lung problems and one makes a tea that helps coughs.  We all tasted everything he offered us. 

At one point, we stopped at a tree of the same type that had been described in the mythical origin stories of Anã.  Like that story, this tree was said to be the home of a special spirit that keeps hunters in the forest from taking more than they need.

We hiked on through groves of cupaçú, açaí and guava trees, all of which we have tasted during our time here.  We soon reached a small stream that widened into a deep-ish pool where we stopped to swim. 

Not only did we manage to swim, but also we were introduced to a special mud in the bank there that locals rub on their skin to smooth and soften it.  We all coated ourselves with the gray clay and stood around trying to decide who looked the strangest covered in the stuff. 

We rinsed off and walked for another hour or so to make our way back to the pousada at Atodi.  There we discovered that we had walked about eight and a half miles, even though we didn’t really feel like it was that big a deal. 

We said our farewells and expressed gratitude to the people of Atodi and then headed back to the beach where we had camped the night before.  One of us had left sandals there and when we pulled the boat up to the shore, the sandals were right where we expected them to be. 

We then returned to the place where Shawny and Jesse went yesterday and all transferred into canoes that took us into a marshy everglade-like area where we were paddling boats right among the trees that were standing in the water.  The water would usually be even higher at this time of year but we got a kick out of floating through the silent eerie swamp with only about two feet of water beneath us.  We saw some birds and their nests and some really unusual plants, including lily pads just now blooming. 

Now we have returned to our boat and are headed to our last overnight destination, from which we will take a couple of quick excursions before returning to our work in Anã on Monday afternoon. 

Because this is our last dinner with Louro before we celebrate Ranjay’s birthday (1/19), Louro made a pineapple upside down cake that we all happily devoured one day early.  We are certain that more celebration awaits Ranjay in Anã but Louro didn’t want to be left out so he went ahead and joined in today.  Yay, Louro!  Yay, Ranjay!

Daily Photos

Deforestation of the Amazon near Atodi in order to install power lines.

During an 8.5 mile hike near Atodi, we stopped at a swimming hole and bathed with exfoliating clay.

While on our hike, we stopped at a lookout to marvel at the incredible view of the lush trees and Arapiuns River.

At look at the inside of a “Castanha do Pará,” or a Brasil nut. 

An Atodi tour guide weaving a headdress made of thatch.

The girls of the trip posing for a picture at the highest point in Atodi.

An Atodi river where we swam and bathed, using exfoliating clay found in the bed of the river. 

The group heading back to the Pousada after a 8 and 1/2 mile hike in Atodi.

1 comment:

  1. Estamos muits felizes por finalmente ter os videos. Ver todos voces traz de volta muitas memorias para mim. Mas eu nao vejo ninguem tomando café ee nao ouvir qualquer musica Brasileira quente. Quando e a escolar de Samba e Carnaval? Todos voces olhar fantasticos. Seja bem e voltar em seguranca para nos. Tudo e bom!