Walking dangerous – Andando perigoso

As the great celestial machine majestically rotated us toward the life-giving sun, just a few degrees away from the equator, the cool early morning air soon turned into a blazing hot tropical sunrise. Luckily we only had to walk in the sun for about three hours, as we were about to enter the jungle for the 35km crossing to the Rio Paru. It is much cooler under the rainforest canopy, and this is welcome. But when we eventually reached our waypoint, we stood apprehensively, listening to the now familiar growls of the Howler monkeys and looking at the thick green wall of matted plant growth that separated the relative security of the road from the dense jungle. Antiono made the sign of the cross on his chest, and I automatically did the same before we entered.

In total, it eventually took us seven days to reach the Paru river. Much of the forest was dense, closed jungle, up and down hill and with a few flooded forest areas. We didn’t encounter any cobras or caiman, but we think we saw a young black jaguar pass in front of us on the road one early morning. We also saw fresh jaguar footprints in the sandy road, and at a house we passed, the family showed us a large two-metre-plus venomous Bushmaster snake they killed at the back of the house the day before. See photos below – the guy said he had to kill it as it was close to his house and its strike could reach an adult’s waist or a child’s head.

Antonio wanted to learn some English as we walked, and the first English words he learned were ‘walking’ and ‘dangerous’ (‘andando‘ and ‘perigoso‘). He made a phrase of it and repeated it until he remembered it.

We were really happy to arrive safely at the tiny community of Bom Futuro after crossing the rainforest, and (in my case) swimming the Paru river and Rio Acarapi. We were welcomed into the house of the president of the community and were given food and coffee within five minutes of our arrival. We were also invited to their fiesta, and a community gathering further up the river, so we stayed the weekend and were also given the local community hall to sleep in.

We left for another hard, four-day walk along the endless boiling-hot, sandy, clay roads and overnights in local villages, and finally arrived in Monte Alegre.

Tomorrow we will continue on to Alenquer – back on the roads, trying to dodge the big cattle trucks, the motorbikes and occasional four-wheel drives whizzing past kicking up clouds of red dust. “Walking dangerous” as my guide now likes to say.

I hope to visit and film the Caverna da Pedra Pintada today if I have time, and a more detailed blog will follow when I reach Santarem.

Facts & figures
Monte Alegre, Pará, is a municipality in the state of Pará in the Northern region of Brazil. It is located along the Amazon River in northern Brazil.

Near this area along the Amazon River is the Caverna del Pedra Pintada, an ancient archeological site with numerous rock paintings and pictographs. Excavations at the cave have found evidence of ancient peoples.

The north of the municipality contains a small part (3.44%) of the 4,245,819 hectares (10,491,650 acres) Grão-Pará Ecological Station, the largest fully protected tropical forest conservation unit on the planet. It also includes a small part (5.51%) of the 11,518 square kilometres (4,447 sq mi) Maicuru Biological Reserve. The municipality contains roughly half of the 216,601 hectares (535,230 acres) Mulata National Forest, a sustainable use conservation unit created in 2001.

Information source: Wikipedia

 

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The long winding and scorchingly hot dusty roads that cut through the Amazon rainforest. By pure coincidence the owner of the house we stayed at the previous night passed us on his motorbike on his way to Monte Alegre and offered to take this photo for us.

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The beautiful but highly venomous Bushmaster snake that was killed at the back of a house the previous evening. Almeirim,Pará,Brazil

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These giant caterpillars on the trees have a powerful sting apparently. Almeirim, Pará, Brazil

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I try to route plan so we encounter rivers to collect fresh drinking water.

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The Cupim community we slept at has many vultures ( urubú ). One got electrocuted as it sat on a power cable, and the community was plunged into darkness so we couldn’t charge batteries. Cupim, Pará, Brazil

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Thousands of species of Butterfly exist in the Amazon. Monte Alegre, Pará, Brazil

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The roads here are mostly sand, and we see different fresh animal footprints when walking, including big jaguar…….

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One of thousands of fazendas (cattle farms) in Brazil

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Locust

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Sometimes fallen trees become bridges across rivers

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4 comments on ‘Walking dangerous – Andando perigoso’:

  1. Clive Maguire

    Well done Pete. You’ll be glad of a rest at Santarem – and you’re now halfway to Manaus 🙂
    Nice pics again. Good luck.

    Reply
  2. Luke

    Awesome blog Pete and fantastic progress. Keep smashing it dude!

    Reply

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