Amazon Adventure: Guyana

Amazon Adventure: Guyana – Day 2

28 February 2014

Lethem, Guyana to Nappi, Guyana

We split up and got into the vehicles that would take us to our camp. I got into the pick-up with Amanda F. and Courtney and the rest of the students got into the beat-up SUV.

The first hour or so of the trip was uneventful – if you consider bouncing over the savanna as uneventful! I was constantly amazed at how Fernando, our driver, was able to not only find the “roads’ (really sometimes no more that ruts in the soil) but also which road to follow. There are no street signs, few landmarks, and the roads constantly criss-crossed other road

Most people who go to the Amazon region usually go to the rainforest. And that was certainly why we were there. But, if you don’t experience the savanna, you will miss out on an amazing experience (more on savannas in later posts). Savannas, like tropical rainforests, are quickly disappearing due to conversion to farms and grazing land for cattle, and other forms of human development.

The Savanna

The Savanna

Savanna up close

Savanna up close

What still amazes, me even after many trips to these habitats, is how abrupt the transition from savanna to rainforest can be. It’s like walking through the front door of your house – going from the wide open and bright outdoors to a dim closed in room. And since you usually enter through an opening cut into the forest for a road or path, it is really like walking through a door.

The plan was to drive to a farm near the camp and then hike for about 20 minutes. Yeah, right. Plans never go as planned in the bush! It had been raining for days before we arrived and the path was muddy. It was also pretty overgrown – clearly no vehicle, other than oxcart, a still commonly used mode of transportation here, had been on this “road” for some time. And, of course, we got stuck. Even when we shifted into 4wd. Hey, it’s the rainforest!

Ox cart on the "road" to Camp George

Ox cart on the “road” to Camp George

So, we went as far as we could go, put on our packs and started hiking….and hiking…and hiking (good thing Trans Guyana Airline limited us to 20lbs of luggage, though I, and a few students, had almost that much also in our carry-on). Our 20 min stroll turned out to be over an hour, uphill, over rocks, through streams, and across monkey-bridges.

 

Hiking to Camp George

Hiking to Camp George

... and through streams

… through streams

... and over a monkey bridge

… and over a monkey bridge

It was our first hike of the trip, and the first real hike for some students. And it was memorable and amazing. But not as amazing as Camp George……

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