One morning a small group of us set off for a hike in the jungle, led by the caretaker and hiking guide Javier. He has made a path up behind the main grounds of the Rambala Jungle Lodge that leads through the jungle and up to the top of the hill. I thought this was a wonderful experience guided by someone who not only has a lot of knowledge, but a great love for the jungle and everything that lives there. Again, photos can only give you the barest idea of what it really feels like to be out there.
Javier is ready for us to get going.
We spot a helicopter damselfly. It’s beautiful on the leaf, but when it flies it is a whirring of blue and black wings (thus its name). They are quite large and very beautiful!
Javier is in his element!
These rocks are so huge we made Brenda stand in front of them for some perspective.
Whoa, look, we found something!
One of many beautiful ferns.
No hike of mine would be complete without a cool bug on a leaf.
Eric and Javier check the water lines while Mariah stops for a drink of water.
It’s hard for a photo to convey the untouched beauty and wildness of this place, or the enormity of some of the trees.
Another look at the stream running through the area.
The bumpy vine looking thing is monkey ladder. Javier said it is good for the kidneys and is sold for a high price for medicinal purposes.
Just a pretty purple palm frond.
The story is that a previous owner planted this bamboo high in the jungle, and now it has turned into a massive clump of beautiful bamboo.
We make it up to the top and view the valleys and meadows below.
We can see the neighbors cows on the other side of the hill.
One of the Rambala horses, Negro, comes up to greet Javier.
Javier thumps on a fence post where the bullet ants live. You do NOT want to get bit by one of these.
We probably spent a couple hours hiking, a lot of it climbing up muddy, rocky paths. I am so glad for my good hiking shoes and the hours on the bicycle. My legs held up fine. My poor old knees weren’t so happy for a couple days but nothing major.
I’m so lucky to be here. I could have stayed in the US and worked another 10+ years. By then I probably couldn’t do these things. I also wouldn’t have met Javier, who will be the subject of my next post.
And to close, check out the leaf cutter ants at work. Apologies for the video quality. I had my Nikon which is not made for video work. The first bit is them climbing down a vine, then they are going through the leaves, and in the last bit they are heading up the other side by the path.
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