After breakfast the next morning, my guide, Revlon and I started the 8km hike to the cock of the rock nesting site. Revlon wasn’t an official guide but he grew up around the forest and knew it well. We traveled light and left most things back in the village. After 30 minutes walking in the savanna, we entered the forest. Soon we entered pristine forest and there was fresh evidence of jaguar, giant anteater and paca along the trail. It was so cool to think I’m walking on a trail that a jaguar walked that very same morning. Almost 2 hours later we reached the site of the old benab. We cleared some brush for my tent and for Revlon’s temporary shelter. Just as we arrived though it began to rain hard. Revlon had some huge leaves he had collected for his shelter and we huddled close together under these. The rain lasted 30 minutes and after I set up my tent. Revlon wasn’t going to set up his shelter now but I warned him that he should. We could hear more rain coming in the distance. He raced to set up his shelter and thankfully that second storm didn’t hit us.
After lunch of canned chicken sausage and biscuits, we walked further down the trail for 1.5km to reach the boulder strewn forest where the cock of the rock nests. These medium sized bright orange birds nest in the nooks and crannies of the rocks. There are at least a dozen nesting pairs in the area. The birds are not hard to spot. Their orange plumage is a stark contrast to the green darkness of the forest. They were quite comfortable around us, unless we made sudden movements, but even then they wouldn’t fly far away. We saw up to 5 males at once and one drab brown female. The cock of the rock is famous for its colors and its elaborate mating ritual dances.
We got back to camp just as it was getting dark. I took a bucket and brought it to a man made well nearby. This was the water source for drinking, cleaning and bathing. They had dug a well near a swampy area, cemented it and now it always has water in it. The well had been covered to keep any wild animals from falling in it. I drank the water with no ill effects. Revlon cooked a dinner of chow mein and chicken sausage. As he handed me my plate he said ‘I’m not sure how its going to taste. I’ve never cooked before.” This guy was 28 but he had never cooked before. He had a wife who did all that for him. The food wasn’t bad and with a little black pepper that I had brought with me, it was totally fine.
One reason I wanted to stay out in the forest was to do a night hike, so after dinner we got our torches and walked slowly down the trail towards the cock of the rock site. We could hear movement high in the trees. Probably a kinkajou or night monkey. I spotted a tarantula on a tree with an apparently broken leg. It looked very strange and in rough shape. Revlon spotted another large spider with less hair. Both spiders were easily larger than the palm of my hand. A small snake crossed our path. A few large toads were also easy to see. It was a nice nightwalk. Revlon said he had never slept out here before. He seemed to be almost more excited than I was to hike at night. He brought his bow and arrow with him just in case!
It was pitch black in the forest. Revlon was sleeping in his hammock without a mosquito net. His shelter was small and he was lucky it was a dry night. The next morning we got up at 6am, had coffee and then walked back to Wowetta. We left early in hopes of seeing something on the trail but had no luck. I washed some clothes and dried out my tent. In the afternoon, some kids took me to a nearby grassy mountain with great views.
The next day I was ready to move to my next destination, Surama.