We’ve recently had a couple of fun days with our family. One day we drove about an hour outside of Altamira with a team from Canada and walked into the jungle along a decently worn path for about two hours. The drive was gorgeous and the walk showed the adults that we weren’t kids anymore. It was the stiffest hiking I’ve done in a long time. The ascents and descents were pretty steep. It was a great jungle walk. Some of the trees were awesome at heights of > 150’ with expansive canopies. We arrived to a beautiful scene with a more than fifty foot waterfall diving into a small pool at its base surrounded by lush jungle vegetation. We swam in the pool and explored a substantial network of caves. There were many bats in the caves which didn’t bother us too much as long as the ceilings were relatively high. As the passages got smaller (on our hands and knees), the bats seemed to become more active and they grew in number. We had so many bats swarming us and screeching that we simply had to turn back. Thousands would not at all be an exaggeration. It was pretty creepy. My comfort level was completely violated! I guess you can walk for hours in these caves…we lasted about twenty minutes! We returned to some relaxing swimming and lunch before our grueling walk back to the truck. A couple days later, I had a date with Luke and I asked him what his favorite experience in Brasil has been. He said, “the falls, no doubt”.
We celebrated Ellie’s birthday with many friends and enjoyed a couple hours of many smiles and laughter. Bets through quite a party, complete with water games and a delicious ice cream cake. It was a real treat for our special 11 y/o girl. She also received gifts and cards from her friends in the states and was thrilled. She really felt special. It warmed this father’s heart.
We also spent a day at Cardoso, a retreat center about an hour outside of Altamira. There is a nice lake and pool and a zip line that the kids really enjoyed. They had not allowed swimming in the lake for several months because of a 3 – 4 meter anaconda that had been spotted there in December. But it hasn’t been seen for over a month so they advised it was ok. The kids enjoyed kayaking, a picnic lunch, and swimming. Five families went and it was a great time, even a little relaxing for the parents. No one wandered too far from the group but no snakes were seen.