Jungle 1, Alex 0
I went for a hike today, according to the map, it was an easy little dotted line to a nice waterfall. The map lied. After walking a few miles out of town to the start of the trail, i turned up the dirt road which I assumed would eventually become a path. Instead of a path, I just came to a very sturdy fence, that had no way around. I figured that maybe the waterfall was not open anymore (if it's possible to close a waterfall), and started walking back down the road. I passed an old woman picking things out of the stream, and we stopped and talked for a while. She had a small bucket and a net, and she was collecting baby frogs, baby dragonflies, and small crabs. I tried to ask her why, but she didn't seem to understand, so I just left it. She was nice enough to tell me that I had to go over the fence and that the falls were about two hours up the trail. Oh, and that I had to watch out for water buffalo, as they could be dangerous.
The first hour and a half of the hike was nice. It was through the jungle, but the path was clear and even flat for the most part. The trail must have went back and forth across the river about 20 times, and luckily I was wearing my Chacos. For those of you who don't know, they're really nice sandals that cost me too much, but have come in handy on many occasions. When wearing them, I can run at speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour, and when pedaling a bike, I sometimes accidentally start to lift off the ground. They're pretty much like the sandals of Hermes himself. Anyway, after following the path for a while, it finally disappeared. I'm not sure if I just lost it, or if I was supposed to just walk up the river. The water was nice and cool, so I figured I'd continue on until I found the trail again.
I didn't find the trail again.
After about a half hour, I hadn't even made it a quarter mile upstream, but had already slipped and fallen twice, rolled my ankle, cut my hand pretty bad, and soaked my clothes and backpack. Then it started to rain. I sat under a big banana leaf for about 15 minutes until the rain stopped, and then gave up on finding the waterfall. When I reached a spot where I could put my pack down, I tried to change the bandages on my hand, and realized that I was surrounded by a swarm of bees. I don't know where they came from, but every time I would stop, I would have around 40 or 50 of them swarming around me. Luckily, they weren't angry bees, and I escaped without getting stung.
The way back down was considerably darker than the way up, as the clouds had moved it. The jungle is pretty dark as it is, and all the darker holes in the underbrush and around the huge boulders became black holes. When you're alone in the jungle, a big black hole is not a place you want to be poking around in. I hurried down the river and finally met up with the path. My hand was throbbing, and I just about jumped on top of two water buffalo that were bathing in the river. I immediately looked around for the nearest climbable tree in case they decided to chase me, but they didn't seem too concerned with me. I took a few pictures and found the rest of the group a little farther down the river.
I emerged from the jungle, defeated, just as another group was coming up the road. They asked about the falls, and I had to tell them my sad story. A french guy came out of the woods about two minutes after me. I'm not sure how I could have missed him, as there was only one path, but he said he didn't reach the falls either. He did comment on the bees, and said that he couldn't stop walking without them swarming him either. The group heading up decided that it probably wasn't worth making the trip, and were nice enough to give me a ride back to town on the back of one of their motorbikes. Thanks Jesse.
I'll see where things take me tomorrow. I've got to find a waterfall and hopefully do some swimming in the pool below, but we'll see what happens.