Trunk-or-Treat 2017
Sacred Valley of the Incas

Back to Civilization

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The Amazon jungle is an incredible place, so far removed from our normal life that it often felt like we'd been transported to another planet, another time.

And we had only barely ventured into it.  There are native peoples living deeper into that same rainforest (several more days of travel) that are completely isolated and resist any contact with the outside world.  We might say they are "uncivilized"...perhaps they are actually the smartest humans of us all...

 

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Our final morning in the jungle, we awoke to rain, steady and stubbornly unrelenting.  Not that we couldn't hike in the rain, but my camera and my wimpy little self don't like to get wet, so I can't say I was too terribly disappointed when Nicolas cancelled our morning jungle trek.  The birds and animals are not active in the rain, he said.  Much like this not-quite-country girl.

 

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After the exhausting adventures of the last couple of days, we needed a leisurely morning and God provided.  Kim spent much of it in the hammock and I caught up with my journaling in the quietness of the lodge.

 

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When I say quiet, I mean QUIET....miles and miles and worlds away from anything electronic.  The only sounds were the raindrops dancing on the lodge's metal roofs and an occasional bird calling. I watched this little blue cutie flit among the bushes, wrote in my journal, and soaked in the peacefulness and quietness.

 

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After lunch, Juan and Hector loaded up our bags and we left Pantiacolla Lodge to retrace our journey back out of Manu.

 

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As much as I longed to feel cool and clean again, I felt a twinge of sadness leaving this magical place.  So many unseen treasures there, many adventures yet to be had.  Perhaps someday, we will return....I'd certainly love to.  Much the same way I feel about the wilds of Africa, the jungle gets under your skin and into soul and becomes part of you...once you've been there you never can really completely leave it behind.

 

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Cruising along in the boat, Nico is still looking...always trying to spot another unique animal and bird to share. He was excited to see this king vulture sitting high in a tree quite a distance away.

 

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Since it was raining, I was content to stay under the plastic-tarp-roof in the boat and shoot from there.  I mean, it was only a vulture, after all...

 

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But Nicolas and Kim walked in the rain over these rocks (that's not easy walking, my friends...we did it a few times and I was always afraid of turning my ankle) to get a better view. Meanwhile I sat in the boat with Juan and Hector and tried to make conversation with two who "no speak English."  I entertained them with my very limited Spanish vocabulary...counting to 10, "adios amigos," and, of course, "Feliz Navidad."  They laughed a lot...I'm sure WITH me, not AT me...

Yes, I am turning into my mother.....

 

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Three hours later, the riverside village of Atalaya came into sight...

 

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...and we said farewell to Juan and Hector.  A driver in a van picked up Kim and me, Nicolas, and Chef Cirilo...

 

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...and we started heading back up, up toward the cloud forest.

 

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We drove through the same little villages we had passed through two days before...

 

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...and wondered, once again, WHO eats all those bananas???

Kim and I have come to the conclusion that half of the world's people would starve were it not for bananas.

 

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Each kilometer we drove, we left the jungle farther behind as we climbed into the cloud forest of the Andes.

 

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Along the way, Nicolas would have the driver stop the van and we'd hike for awhile, spotting more birds along the way...like this beautiful woodpecker, roadside hawk, and pair of anis.

 

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Another night at the rustic primitive Posada San Pedro...

 

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And then leaving early the next morning...

 

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...to drive/hike as we slowly made our way back up and over the mountains.

If it looks like Kim is wearing the same clothes in nearly every photo, he is.  We had very limited luggage to take to the jungle, and things quickly got muddy and sweaty.  This blue shirt he wore could have easily stood on its own in a corner had there been a dry corner to be found...

 

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A baby fer de lance, a very, very deadly poisonous snake briefly shared our path...

 

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And often we'd come across a troop of monkeys rattling the treetops.

 

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Beauty around every bend!

 

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And there were hundreds of bends!

 

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Indescribably magnificent views too!  If I'd asked the driver to stop for a shot of every breath-taking view, we'd still be on the Manu road! But occasionally I wouldn't be able to contain myself and I'd ask Nico to stop for a quick photo.  Just amazing mountain landscapes!

 

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Definitely a bird-lovers' (which we obviously are!) paradise.  For every bird I got a good photo of, there were a dozen that we saw but flew away too quickly.

 

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Our long-dreamed-of Manu adventure had come to a close.  And certainly left us yearning for more....  Someday.....

 

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Down the other side of the Andes....

 

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...and finally into Cusco, where we exhaustedly crashed at a nice hotel for the night.  

After a fabulous 5 days of mountain/rainforest/jungle adventures, we were...

...back to civilization.

 

 

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