We kayaked down the Shiripuna River, camped in the rainforest under a full moon and trekked the Amazonian basin blanketed by a forty-foot high jungle canopy. Magnificent bromelaids grew on braids of vines. Zillions of creatures hid in the lush trees and damp earth, and predators prowled mostly unseen. The forest is vast and the animals are shy.
When Mother Nature and the unpredictable happened that's when our adventure really kicked into gear. Due to the unique fluctuation of water level, the canoe from where we fished for piranha just minutes ago got stuck.
To lighten the load, we had to jump out. I went first. And, folks, it wasn't into the water or friendly mud. Sinking-mud is a different ball-of-wax, so to speak. Not having the grace or the strength of the Huaorani who step, hop, step through the muck, I continued to slowly sink. My rubber boots filled up and soon I was belly-button deep. The image of Bear Gryllis on Man vs Wild on TV flashed through my mind. He had demonstrated how to survive the man-sucking mud and I'm still here to prove that it works. The secret is to get horizontal on your stomach then get your legs up to the surface and boogie like a caiman to solid soil. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of that story.