After the rafting we checked in at the lodge and got changed out of our very wet gear before lunch and a well earned beer.
We were not expecting much from the lodge as it was in the middle of the jungle; we were told there was no fresh drinkable water, limited bar, meals made by the guides and generally had our expectations set low. However it was incredible, perched a few meters above the water on stilts, it is a series of wood built a kitchen/dining room facing the river, a small bar, and a series of three raised sections with rooms. There is also a hammock space for professional relaxing.
Our room was directly facing the bend in the river leading to the lodge.
Dry for the first time in two days and with regular rainfall all afternoon, I chose not to walk to the hanging bridge or the swimming hole, but rather have a beer or two and watch the wide, wild water.
Cocktails were at five followed by dinner. There was more drinking and we had a lot of fun by candlelight playing cards. It seems a staple of my holidays, Red wine, candlelight and card games.
We also met Rocky, who was a mutt who arrived about two years ago that all the guides look after, he understood at least English and Spanish.
After an American breakfast of pancakes, omelettes and sausage we headed out on the hike through the rainforest to the indigenous peoples’ village. Set way back past the conveniences of civilisation. Almost immediately I regretted not having my hiking boots am only having soft soled shoes.
The trail was stony when it wasn’t muddy and very uphill. I struggled greatly over the hour and a half hike and I was not the only one. I have hiked the Annapurna mountain, done 45k over 2 days with 20kilos on my back in Swedish forests and this goes down as one of the most challenging hikes I’ve ever done. Photos were almost impossible, the uncertain ground and humidity made it a risk to bring out the camera from the bag.
When we reached the top, in a clearing of the jungle, we saw a number of wood huts with bamboo leaves as roofs.
After a short time, we were greeted by a local woman and her baby and we went to a hut prepared for visitors as they did not want strangers in the building that were important to them, an understandable situation.
We asked a few questions that our guide translated, perhaps the most interesting thing we learned is that her child has no name, it is not something they do at that age. They have no midwives, or doctors, her mother helped to deliver the baby. You can perhaps guess the sad connection between these two facts.
They get a small contribution of money from the lodge for every guest, and to spend it at the supermarket is a full days trip, including using the hand drawn cable car over the river.
The walk back was easier as it was downhill but the slick mud meant progress was slow, unless you wanted it to be very fast indeed. When we got back we were all tired and very dirty. So Jorge the guide took us to the swimming hole to clean off. A fallen and carved tree rests in the pool allowing you to climb to a height you are comfortable with before jumping into the water or swimming to the waterfall.
After we had eaten that evening, two of the girls and I returned to the swimming hole, in the torrential monsoon rain for a half hour swim. The waster was cold, the current from the waterfall was strong and the log you could climb to jump into the hole was slick.
It was glorious, the rain day added to the mystical feel of the place, you could have been hundreds of miles from the nearest person.
We then had a few hours free that evening before cocktails and snacks. We had a chilled-out evening talking and relaxing.
Sunday, we were up fairly early as we were rafting to our next location. After bacon and eggs, much of which was fed to Rocky the dog by us all, we loaded up the rafts and headed off.