Adventure

Madidi

'I believe any trip in search of wildlife can be coupled with physical activity and elements of cultural diversity to form a thrilling opportunity '
John H.Eickert

RAwhk! The raucous scream was hurled down to us from the canopy high above the brown chugging river where our canoe floated. RAwhk! The call came again, then the two large birds lifted from the treetop and floated back deep into the forest.

I had hoped to see one of these birds in Costa Rica, but despite braving the biting flies and ants, the only thing I came away from the Oso Peninsula in Central America with was dehydration. Another year, I assembled with hundreds of other tourists not far from Puerto Maldonado in Peru. The orange clay cliffs were covered with birds while below the river was crowded with tourists. It was not what I wished for.

And so, I tried again another year to find scarlet macaws I could spend time with, away from other tourists and not yet discovered by poachers. There is something about scarlet macaws, maybe their size, color, call, or like many birds the fact that they mate for life. And like me, they prefer the deeper, quieter places, away from the hustle, bustle, bright lights, and noise of cities. The color. Well, these macaws have just as much blue color as they have red. Then there is that call. It could be better described as a screaming screech and it can be heard for miles. I found the experience I wished for, be careful what you wish for!

I flew to La Paz, capital of Bolivia in South America, then waited days to fly east and over the Andes to a river town called Rurrenabaque. In Rurrenabaque, I hired a young native man to guide me up river into a national park named Madidi. With me were another adventure travel guide and a doctor, good friends to penetrate the deep jungle. On the third day we found scarlet macaws and then yellow macaws, more macaws than I have seen anywhere else I have ever been, and we were all alone. By the fourth day, it became tiresome to point them out, as we put-putted up the brown river. On the morning of the fifth day our guide tried to get us to go back to Rurrenabaque, he said a ten-day trip would be too long and we would become sick. In the afternoon, our guide pushed the boat over to the shore. He pointed into the forest. He would lead us into the forest to look for monkeys. We followed. We walked for an hour then sat down to watch the canopy. Before long, we spotted some monkeys and watched them feed. I was curious and turned to ask a question of our guide. He was gone. We called for him. Nothing. There we were deep in the tight remote forest of Madidi, the darkest Amazon, and we were alone. And, we were lost. Could we, would we, ever find our way out and back to civilization?

Ah, but that’s another story. Hope each of you has found time for adventure! Cheers.

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