I may have said this in every blog post so far, but this was definitely one of my favorite weekends! We finally got to go into the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. The journey was long because the majority of the ride was on motorized canoes and trucks, but we made it there eventually. The research station called Tiputini, is run by the University of San Francisco de Quito, where some of the other IES Abroad students take classes. They have cabins for visitors and long-term researchers, a dining area with cooks who make suprisingly delicious meals, trails through the forest, a library (only place with air conditioning) and even a small volleyball/soccer area for people to relax and play some games. Electricity is only available for a couple hours per day, and of course there is not phone service at all.
The weekend there was split into mornings and afternoons where we took tours different parts of the surrounding jungle. The first one I went on was a walk in the woods to a salt lick. On the very first hike, we saw two types of monkeys and a weird Amazonian type of deer and much, much more! Later that day we walked to the giant Ceiba tree and climbed up the metal staircase to the top! We stayed up there, gazing over the canopy, watching parrots fly by in the distance and spotting the occasional bird through a telescope. The next morning, I went on the tour to the lake where we saw even more monkeys and birds that have tiny claws at the end of their wings, meaning they are still closely related to their reptile ancestors. Later, they took all of us together on a float down the Tiputini river. That night, my favorite activity of all, we did a night walk with our guides. Every couple steps there was some crazy large or colorful insect to see! We saw giant spiders, lizards, opposums, and even a snake at the end! The next day, on the way out of the jungle we stopped in the city and took a "toxi-tour" of the local petroleum company's effect on the area. The pipes and oil drilling rigs were so blunt and obviously had an impact on the health of the community, without giving them any of the wealth. You can see the fire from the extra gas burning constantly, attracting and killing a large amount of ecologically valuable insects. The trip was incredible, I am very grateful to IES Abroad to have set up this trip that otherwise would've been really difficult on our own.
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<div>My name is Chloe Trifilio. I am an Environmental Science student with a minor in Recreation at Ithaca College in New <span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em;">York, but for one semester I will be studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador! I am originally from the great state of Vermont </span><span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em;">where I love to hike, bike, climb, kayak and generally explore the Green Mountains. I am also on the Ultimate Frisbee </span><span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em;">team and I'm very excited to see how Ecuadorians get down on the field. I hereby promise to use this blog to show </span><span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em;">everything that I see and do in Ecuador, which will include climbing, playing frisbee, exploring the city and a trip to the </span><span style="font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em;">Amazon!</span></div>