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We all woke up one morning, excited and ready to begin our journey. We were headed on a hike to the high mountain behind our house. Our plan was to set three trail cameras in hopes of finding new jungle discoveries.
Morgan, Hudson, Asher, and I were all going on the hike. We were hoping Pu would be able to come along with us, but his literacy class was still in session, so he couldn’t miss an entire week. Some guests were going to be flying in and joining us on the hike. The MAF Kodiak plane landed around eight o’clock in the morning with the passengers that were going on the hike with us. You can learn more about MAF and about the airstrip near our house in this video.
Anyway, we had all been looking forward to this day for awhile. There was one pilot, Brian, two teen brothers, Tjeerd and Haram, and their school teacher, Esther. They are from a coastal town about a 90-minute flight away from our mountain.
Once they arrived, we said a prayer and then started on our trip. I kept my backpack as light as possible, only taking the most necessary things with me. We started out good, but I was afraid that the change in altitude for the new guys would be hard on them. They were coming from an elevation just around sea level to our home of 7,300 feet. We started out by hiking down to Wigoduk, which is about 1,500 feet below our home, and then we walked up the river for an hour or so. By the time we got to the spot where we started up into the jungle, we were all feeling pretty hungry. We ate a few snack bars for lunch and continued on our trip.
I learned that when you are hiking for a long time, it’s good to take breaks, but don’t sit down. When you sit down, you begin to relax, then getting up again and continuing is really hard. We hiked and hiked and hiked for the rest of the day. Around five o’clock, we reached a small overhang that signaled the end of hiking for that day. I was quite tired. We hiked six hours that day. The longest hike I’ve been on is two and a half hours, so this was a little out of my comfort zone.
Even though we had finished hiking for the day, we hadn’t finished work for the day. We went a little farther into jungle in search of a flat spot to spend the night. Our tribal friends that came with us quickly set up a small structure and put a tarp on for a roof. We also used a tarp for our floor. We made a fire and cooked dinner. After we finished dinner, we got ready for bed. With a sense of foreboding, I curled up in my blankets and settled down. Have you ever slept with your legs folded up, a rock underneath you, and two bodies squished up against you? If so, then I won’t go into the explanation of what it felt like. Suffice it to say, I didn’t sleep too well that night.
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