During our trip to Bolivia, we scheduled a canopy tour during our stay outside of the Carrasco National Forest. Perhaps it was just naivety on our part, but we thought that the canopy tour was going to be some sort of rope bridges strung from tree to tree for us to walk along and see the natural wonders of the rainforest. We knew that we were spending the night in an eco-lodge, so we packed minimally with the lightweight long pants, shirts, and hiking shoes. When we reached the lodge, our guide, Remy, asked whether we had shorts and sandals to wear. Sandals in the jungle? We didn’t have other shoes, but our pants could be converted to shorts.
We put our bag and our camera in our room as we were told that we couldn’t carry anything with us as we went into the jungle because we weren’t walking on bridges in the treetops, we were going zip-lining. Oh, and the reason we needed other shoes was because we had to hike through a stream to get there. There would also be an opportunity to swim in the river to cool off from the heat of the jungle when we were done. We looked at Remy and said, “this wasn’t in the brochure”. That would be our running joke throughout the rest of our trip whenever we encountered something unexpected.
We trudged through the river with water that was as high as our thighs at times. We couldn’t take our camera, but we handed one of our cell phones to Remy so that he could record our adventures. After about twenty minutes walking through the river, we came to a waterfall and the young boy from the lodge who was leading us to the zip-lining course climbed up and tossed a rope down for us. We were to climb up the waterfall using the rope. The trick we were told was to keep our stance wide, take small steps, and keep our hands in front of our feet. Sounds easy, right? We made it up, but there was some slipping along the way.
At this point, we were soaking wet, but felt we’d accomplished something, so we put a smile on our faces and kept going, surely it was going to get easier. Next we climbed up a steep hill and there were two cables that stretched from a tree to another tree on the other side of a ravine. The cables were about five feet apart, one high and one low. We had to cross the ravine by shuffling holding onto the upper cable while and shuffling our feet slowly on the lower cable. Trying not to look down, we wobbled across the ravine and fortunately no one fell, even with our wet shoes.
Next we came to rope hanging from a tree and Remy demonstrated that we were to get a running start and swing out on the rope over the edge of the cliff that was next to us. We were harnessed in, so we could let go of the rope and do tricks if we desired. Not part of the brochure, but we were resigned at this point to make the most of it and let ourselves have some fun with it. From there on it was your typical zip-lining adventure as we flew across huge canyons from one tree to another, like Tarzan swinging through the jungle. It was fun, but we were exhausted when it was over.
We hiked back to the lodge to get dinner and a glass of wine. We were going to be hiking in the jungle the next day and climbing into caves, so Remy had the idea to put our shoes next to the vent of the motor for the freezer, which pumped out warm air, which fortunately ended up drying our shoes over night. As we walked back to our room in our socks, we felt something itching our feet. Once in our room, we turned on the light and found our socks covered in ants, which were extremely hard to remove. It was quite a day, but definitely not what we were thinking we would be doing when we first saw that our two-day adventure included a canopy tour.