Amazon Jungle Trek
Before making our way to our next destination in Ecuador, some of our adventurous Global High School students and staff had another opportunity to go on an Ecuadorian rainforest hike, while others went on a canopy tour. Up early, we put on our knee-high rubber rain boots and into a twenty-minute canoe ride through the Napo river, we then arrived at our hike destination. Our guide Joel informed us that we are standing in the Amazon’s secondary rainforest looking out to the primary rainforest. Like our last jungle tour, Joel emphasized again that we should try our best to “touch nothing” because there are many insects that are camouflaged and can be dangerous. But most importantly, touching the trees can give out vibrations to the ants stationed in the trees, sending them a “danger” signal, and sometimes forcing hundreds and thousands of ants to come out.
The extreme diversity of the Ecuadorian rainforest was emphasized again in this hike…We have observed a huge tree with about a diameter of eight meters, the walking tree that can travel up to half a meter per year, trees with strange looking roots that have spikes used as graters in the kitchen, and many more.
The sounds of toucans were heard and gigantic spiders and thumb-sized bullet ants were spotted multiple times. We also came across a plant that has ink in it that acts as a permanent tattoo. We were told by Joel that the rainforest is essentially a natural pharmacy, most fruits, plants, and roots acts as a natural remedy. They can either be a cancer-fighting agent, medicine for yellow fever, malaria, and even illnesses as simple as a cold. The rainforest is essential to the locals, almost every single plant is put to medical use.
Although some of us didn’t go to the canopy tour, we still got the chance to go on a short sit down a zip-line and some swinging bridges. After a while into the hike, the unpredictable rainforest started pouring rain but there was nothing we could’ve done in the jungle. At this point of our hike, we weren’t exactly trekking on paths anymore, we went off track into knee foot deep bushes.
One of our students said that “it was really cool how we went off track even though we were literally in the middle of nowhere, and it felt like we have been walking in circles for a while”. The rain made this hike a big slippery slope, and we have learnt by experience that tree roots are extremely slippery, but this experience has again demonstrated that we are an excellent and experienced group of hikers. We all came on this hike not knowing what to expect, but unique and interesting knowledge was attained and turns out we trekked for a little over three hours.