Sunday, September 5, 2010

All Aboard for the Amazon

Greetings, readers!

This post finds me at home -- momentarily -- perched over my library table with a view of my neighbor's Rose of Sharon tree in bloom, a sure sign of early autumn in Western New York. This morning's clear, crisp air is another reminder that the season is changing.

Roger and I returned from our Western journey in mid-August, eager to settle in for a few weeks of life by Lake Ontario. We were more than ready to be home, especially after two flat tires on the trailer en route home. But, my, what a great trip. The following statistics don't begin to tell the whole story, but they will give you a sense of the scope of our trip.

Summer ’10 “Wild West” Fact Sheet

2,700 miles
12 states (NY, PA, OH, IN, ILL, KS, CO, NM, AZ, UT, NV, CA)
9 National Parks (Chaco Cultural Historic, Zion, Joshua Tree, Sequoia, King’s Canyon, Yosemite Great Basin, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands)
101.15 hiking miles
80 days
91 bird species
14 bird firsts

24 poems
170 journal pages
129 postcards
2,300 photographs (saved)
1 earthquake (5.4 magnitude, near Joshua Tree Nat’l Park)


Of course, like rolling stones, we're gathering no moss this autumn. On September 9, we depart for a 10-day journey that will take us to Brazil's Amazonian rainforests along the Rio Negro to its confluence with the mighty Amazon River. We'll eat, sleep and relax aboard the Tucano (shown above), spending our days tramping through the jungle in search of three-toed sloths, capybaras (the world's largest rodents), leafcutter ants and birds such as the board-billed heron and colorful macaw.

Packing is well under way, a task complicated by the need to spray all our outer clothing with a powerful insect repellent that will help us ward off malaria- and yellow fever-carrying mosquitoes, which give one great pause. Yellow fever inoculations and anti-malarial drugs, plus lots of DEET, should help us avoid any tropical plague carried by the vile mosquitoes!

Expect an update upon our return from the jungle wilds when we'll unpack from our Amazonian adventure -- and begin the process anew as we prepare for the desert reaches of Egypt and a cruise on its Nile River in October!

Happy autumn!