Sunday, January 22, 2017

Off The Charts In Guyana - Into the Interior - Canpoy Walkway

Tom on the first platform

One of the main attractions at Iwokrama is a canopy walkway at Atta Rainforest Camp.  Unlike the Iwokrama River Lodge which near the north entrance of Iwakrama, Atta Rainforest Camp is deep into the area, near the south exit.  It was a two hour drive from the River Lodge. 
Above the canopy

The canopy walk is a hike up the side of a mountain to a series of metal wires and platforms up in the tops of the trees, some 100+ ft off the rainforest floor.  As you can imagine, the perspective from up there is TOTALLY different than a hike through the woods on the ground. 
Keys to a successful visit

The rules

First we got the rules.  1.)  One person on the walkways at a time.  2.)  Try not to hang on too much to the guide wires because bullet ants crawl all over them and they will bite you and you will be sick with fever for 24 hrs.  Wait, what?  I should try to walk on this wobble extension walkway 100 ft above the rainforest floor without hanging on for fear of a mean biting ant?!  O-kay!  3.)  No more than 8 people on a platform at one time.  About this time I started to wonder, 8 Guyanese people or 8 North Americans because let’s face it, North Americans are much bigger than your typical Guyanese and something tells me that weigh is an important detail on a canopy walk 100 ft above the rainforest floor!  4.)  Please be respectful of the animals and surroundings.  O-Kay.  Here we go…..
Tom moving easily on the walkway

Kathy's turn
Is that a fallen platform down there?

Long way down

The local guide went first.  Then Rich, then Jim, then Tom and then me.  I watched each carefully.  Tom didn’t even touch the guidelines.  Wow!  I had noticed that the first step is a doozy.  You are stepping off a solid, wood platform onto a springy, flexing, shifty walkway.  Oh boy!  But I did it just like the guys had.  Oh man.  But after several feet, I got the feel and was able to stop and look around and down at the view.  So very kewl.  I did find that I had to hang on a tiny little bit (fore finger and thumb) but I was careful that no bullet ant got me.  Soon I was across and up onto the first metal platform.  We looked all around the 360 degree view as well as down to the rainforest floor.  While we waited for the others to cross, our guide explained a bit of the history of the canopy – who built it (Canadian company), how (cables, wires, turnbuckles and metal grates and such) and that there used to be five platforms but one fell down last year.  Wait what… fell down?  Yep, a strong wind blew the host tree down.  Then he point out the rubble on the floor of the rainforest.  Gulp!  And with that, he stepped off onto the next walkway. 
"So do you think it will hold?"

Actually well built

When we made it to the final platform, it was late afternoon.  Our guide started making various and specific animal and bird calls.  Soon he was answered, a troupe of capuchin monkeys came crashing through the tree tops close by us.  It was amazing to watch them.  They moved along the branches from the tree trunk to the outer bit of a branch and then as the branch was dipping from the strain of the monkey’s weight , it would jump/leap across to the next tree, landing on the edge of a branch and then moving towards the trunk and across the other side and out another branch and on the next tree and so on and so forth.  It was so kewl to watch.  And loud.  OMG – the sound of them crashing from tree branch to tree branch was really quite loud.  FYI- monkeys are hard to photograph in the trees.  I quickly decided to quit trying and just enjoy the moment instead.  Beyond this group of monkeys we could also see and hear a few howler monkeys.  We watched them all parade through and then headed back down the mountain to Atta Lodge.  The Norwegian group was there.  They were there to bird watch but they were also keen to see the monkeys, they rushed up to our Iwokrama guide (she had been their guide back at the River Lodge) “Did you see the monkeys?  Did you seen the monkeys?  We didn’t see any.”  They got shut out again.  She hesitated… could tell she felt bad that we had seen them and they hadn’t.  Poor Norwegians. 
Tom above it all
Monkey in the tree - no really

Anyway, we loaded back in the van and headed back to the River Lodge, looking for a jaguar along the way.   Unfortunately, we got shut out of seeing one.  Jaguar sightings are very rare!
Stuart, Paul and Ian were supposed to meet us at the canopy walk but never showed up.  That evening, we learned of their grand adventure south to Amerindian village of Surama (not much there- according to them), lunch in Annai with Stuarts cousin, and finally an illegal boarder crossing at Lethem into Brazil.  Note – in their defense, they didn’t set out to illegally cross the border, it was simply Sunday and that boarder station was not manned!  Somewhere along the way they punctured their one spare tyre (British spelling) causing a slow leak.  Rut-row.  Luckily our driver Mark thought they could get it fixed on the other side of the K Crossing and they did.  Whew! 
Sabrina getting the point - bahahaha

Do you get the point?  Bahaha - never get tired of that one
The circus back together again after an exciting day

1 comment:

  1. What fun! Your adventures really are reminding me of ours in southern Belize, in the rainforest. Don't feel bad, we didn't see any jaguars either, despite hiking in the jaguar preserve (Cockscomb Basin). They are there, but very elusive. We did see a huge tapir track on a muddy trail, though, that was cool. I laughed over your comments on the bullet ants and not being able to hold on. It would be my luck to get bit; glad you did not!