The Amazing Amazon

Oonagh Jordan
November 18, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, we traveled to the Amazon for a few days. It was an incredible experience. If you ever have the time or means to stay in the deep Amazon for several days, I recommend it. The Amazon should definitely have a top place on someone’s travel bucket list.

We stayed at a research facility deep in the Amazon (we were much closer to Brazil than to Quito). Other than the buildings themselves and the various hiking paths, the forest was mainly untouched. Because of this, animals had not left the area, and we were able to see many plants and animals that might otherwise not have been present if there was more human intervention. The name of the research station is Tiputini and you can find a lot of information about it on the internet (they have a lot of camera traps on the land, and have captured photos of ocelots, jaguars, armadillos, and anteaters, amongst others). 

The fact that this “untouched” aspect was so celebrated (and therefore rare) is a testament to the horrific impact that several major industries (especially the oil industry) has made on the world's largest rainforest. 

Well, on to the good stuff!

(sorry I think adding soil was an unfortunate misstep)

We saw many interesting animals and plants while hiking! Here's a list of some animals we saw:

- Lots of birds: macaws, numerous parrots, and a ton whose names I forget

- Spiders: these colorful spiders with spiny abdomens, and most notably, a baby Brazillian Wandering Spider (the most poisonous spider in the world!)

- Ants: Inclusing bullet ants! These have estremely painful bites, and they are crawling anywhere. It is very wise to avoid touching trees and plants because of this. 

- Not really an animal, but we saw small burrows dug into the ground, that were made by armadillos. 

- Monkeys: Pygmy marmoset, tamarins, and howler mokeys

- Lots of frogs & lizards

- Caymans

- A Tapir!

The paths were incredibly beautiful - you were just surrounded by this incredible green - from the plants, shrubs, and moss-covered trunks and vines. The painting above is a Walking Tree. This tree is very tall and has roots that extend far out of the soil. We were told that the tree is able to move slightly to reach sunlight - but apparently this is a myth. Some minor research reveals that the roots actually serve to right the tree if it falls. The trees are often covered in a thick moss, which our guide told us is used by the native people to stop bleeding. 

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Oonagh Jordan

<p>I&#39;m Oonagh (ooh-nah), a junior at Grinnell College, and a Political Science major who fancies herself an occasional artist and a lifelong doodler. I&#39;m very excited and mildly terrified to start my stay in Quito, but I&#39;m very much looking forward to immersing myself in the language and culture.</p>

2015 Fall
Home University:
Grinnell College
Political Science
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