My First Expedition-Pico Da Neblinas

Summer 1999: My goal was to venture as deep into the unknown as I could possibly go. At the time I thought such an expedition would bring me clarity in regards to finding a future career path, which I badly needed now that I had just graduated from college. I needed to choose a place off of the map, some place truly wild. During the time of research, I had no reports, travel blogs, or internet information to go by. Instead all I had was a curious imagination ignited by the book, “The Lost World,” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The book is about an explorers fictitious journey to a land of mountains in the deepest recesses of the Amazon..a place so isolated that dinosaurs managed to survive and still roam. I learned after reading the book that  it was inspired by a real place in the Amazon, where mysterious flat topped mountains-tepuis rise thousands of feet from the steamy jungles of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela. I went out to a local library and and found an Almanac of Geography. I opened it to the Amazon Rainforest section and focused my attention to the largest unbroken stretch of forest in the region of the northwestern Brazil..a place called the Pico du Neblina Reserve-where the highest mountain of Brazil is located. This is a land of remote jungles, jaguars, indigenious tribes with little to no contact with the outside world, bandits and narco traffickers. I knew this trip would require all of the strength and courage. This is where I wanted to go and I set my mind to it.  Now getting there would be the difficult part.

Location of Pico Du Neblina

I knew that an expedition of this undertaking was going to take time and money. I had the first but not the second. I worked as many night shifts at the grocery store as I could after graduation and I recruited one other friend to join the Amazon expedition.

I found out after scouring newspaper articles, and conducting endless research that Pico do Neblinas was in a region controlled by FUNAI-a Brazilian Indigenous protection ministry that controls who is allowed to enter the reserve.  I set off to Brazil  earlier than my friend to try and make arrangements for the expedition and to mostly enjoy Brazil, after all this was my first trip to South America and Brazil is awesome.

Permits

In Maceio, I went to the FUNAI office to ask about permits for the Pico da Neblina Reserve. I was instantly greeted with roadblocks and told that I would need to apply for permission months in advance and that permission would not likely be granted. I was also told that if I entered the reserve without permission, I would be arrested. I realized at that moment that the best course of action was to just go to the Amazon and to try and make arrangements on the go.

Having the Time of Our Lives

Before the Amazon expedition, I stayed with some Brazilian friends  in Rio, Maceio, Recife and in Fortaleza.  My friends graciously hosted me in their beachside houses and showed me a great time. I spent my time jogging on the beach, teaching English courses, and I attended Carnival in Fortaleza. I was having the time of my life and then my friends from the USA joined me and things became even more fun.

At our Brazilian friend’s beach house near Recife

The Long Boat Journey Up the Amazon River

To reach Pico du Neblina, first we needed to travel to the biggest city in the Amazon region. This meant we needed to take a 20 hour bus from Recife to Belem, the mouth of the Amazon River and then travel by boat ferry up the river for one week to Manaus. In Manaus we would figure out what to do next.

Belem is a large city that sits at the mount of the Amazon River on the Atlantic Ocean. The Amazon River is the world’s largest river by volume. So much freshwater runs from the Amazon into the ocean that you can drink freshwater straight from the ocean  over a 100 miles out at sea. The river deposits huge amounts of sediment to the ocean as the river slows down when it spreads out along the delta region and enters the ocean. This creates some of the world’s largest freshwater islands.  After spending a few days in Belem, we went to the river harbor to find a public ferry departing up the Amazon River to the city of Manaus. 

Sleeping on a hammock on the boat

The boat port was chaotic, hot and polluted. After asking around, we found an old rickety boat with three a three level deck that we were told would take us to Manaus. Manaus , the largest city in the Amazon, can only be accessed by boat or plane and it would serve as our launching pad to Pico Du Neblina. The boat trip to Manaus took one week, as the boat with its huge smoking diesel engine, putterred loudly and slowly up the river. During the day, we did our best to avoid the day time heat by staying in the shade and playing cards. But it took incredible amounts of tolerance to put up with the crushing heat all while being crammed into the boat with dozens of other locals like sardines. We ate two meals per day of feixada-rice and beans with the occasional chicken leg. The highlight of every day was drinking a warm coke on top of the boat while watching the sunset.

The Amazon was massive. At times the Amazon was so wide, the other side of the river would not be visible. On occasion we would spot pink river dolphins-botu traveling with the wake of the boat.

All of the passengers slept in hammocks that were all clustered together, and other people in hammocks were both below, above and to the side of me. At night the sleeping deck whas alive with a chorus of snoring.

 

 

Crowded conditions 

Sleeping on a hammock on the boat with exotic pets

Typical river village

Passengers carried exotic cargo like turtles, and parrots with them for food or sale. We stopped at random river towns, commonly blasting loud Brazalian dance music from nearby bars. Our boat traveled both day and night and a watch man at night with a strong spot light would illuminate the river in front of the boat looking for navigation hazards.

Arrival to Manaus

Our first boat broke down 1/2 way, and we had to wait for a replacement boat but we finally made it to Manaus.  At the time Manaus was a run down impoverished backwaters city with very few foreign tourists. We spent our time relaxing in air conditioning, and even visiting the shopping mall to eat ice cream and watch  movies. We explored the city, and the jungle outskirts all while looking for leads on getting to Pico Da Neblina. I tried a travel agency but they wanted a fortune and they lacked any real information of Pico Da Neblinaand. The FUNAI office was of no assistance to us either and again we were told we needed permits and the permit process would be long and drawn out. We decided that we just needed to keep trying to move closer to our goal and we remained hopeful that things would fall magically into place.

 

Outside of Manuas on the Amazon River at night-Boat man looking for caiman by shining his flash light and looking for red reflection of their eyes in the dark-once spotted he jumps into the water and wrestles it out of the water

Looking for Caiman or as they are called in Brazil, jacare in a swamp one night outside of Manaus across the Amazon River.  I grabbed one only to have it wiggle loose and fall into my crotch. In my panic as it squirmed around gnashing its sharp teeth, I threw it at my friend and he almost fell off the boat trying to avoid it. 

Then one night while we were at a bar in the downtown area, we met a charismatic Brazilian man who went by the nickname, Bad Wolff.” We explained our idea to visit the Pico Neblina and he claimed he was a guide and offered to take us there. Everything about the guy triggered red flags. He seemed to be completely full of crap. First he claimed to be born in the USA, same city that my friend Tim and I went to college, Duluth. Of course he conveniently forgot all details of Duluth. Despite that we didn’t believe a word that came out of his mouth, we decided to hire him. Maybe it was because we were naive, inexperienced and young or maybe it was because he was funny and we liked him. Whatever the reason, we had no other leads and he was our only hope. He didn’t ask for much money and we didn’t have much to give either. He also claimed to have a Yanomami Indian friend who would join us on the expedition as our eyes and ears of the land.

 

Badwolf holding a turtle on the Rio Negro boat

Our first test of trust with Bad Wolf was when he asked us for a deposit of 70USD to secure some personal provisions for the trip. We figured 70USD wouldn’t kill us and if he turned out to be un-trustworthy and didn’t return well we would be better off anyways because then we wouldn’t be led into the Amazon by a thief. We decided to take the risk. I honestly didn’t think we would see him again but in the morning he showed up at our hotel with his Yanomami Indian friend-Legislao. Bad Wolff was proudly sporting a new hair style. It turns part of the the personal provisions he needed for the Amazon involved getting a permanent and a hair dye job. Later that day we set off for the boat docks to find a public ferry to our next destination up the Rio Negro, Sao Gabriel. 

 

Traveling the Rio Negro

Our Group Traveling on the Ferry up the Rio Negro, from left-me, Bad Wolff, Tim and our Yanomami guide-Lesgislao

To get to the Pico da Neblina reserve, we first needed to travel by boat a week up the Rio Negro River to small Amazon outpose of Sao Gabriel. In Sao Gabriel, we would seek to make arrangements to get to the mountain with the help of our Indian guide’s family and friends.

The Rio Negro unlike the Amazon River was black, and we didn’t spot any river dolphins. The water is known to be more acidic and because of this it has less life in it compared to the Amazon. Since we were getting deeper into the rainforest, we saw more unbroken tracts of jungle on the riverbanks and fewer villages.

Sao Gabriel

Sao Gabriel a little village up the Rio Negro is located in a beautiful area. Small, jagged hills rise out of the jungle, and white sand beaches on the river parallel the black river water of the Negro. Once in Sao Gabriel, we stayed in a small ramshackle cabin, the home of some relatives of our guide, Legislao. On our first night, the family treated us to a big meal of river fish and a cold 2-liter bottle of Coke. Legislao’s nephew agreed to join us on the expedition as an extra hand and porter to help carry the sac of rice. 

Dusty little town of Sao Gabriel

Map of route taken in reserve

Random man in town with a baby fur monkey

Me holding someone’s pet parrot

The Vehicle we took into the reserve

Rough roads

In Sao Gabriel, we checked in with the Pico Da Neblina Reserve HQ office, which was not very formal. But it did have a vehicle and a boat that was available to us for hire. Most importantly, we had rangers to discuss logistics with and now we had access to real concrete information about the reserve. It seemed we were making real progress and the price for the boat and vehicle didn’t break our bank. We purchased rice, beans and some other provisions to last us while in the reserve and after a few days in Sao gabriel we set off into the reserve.  First we had to drive down a 4wd track into the jungle, which we would take for a few hours before arriving to a small boat with an outboard motor hidden in the jungle. I discovered in my time in the Amazon, that motors were worth their weight in gold and to protect them from theft, their owners would often hide the boat and motor in the jungle and try and conceal them as much as possible. We left our vehicle/driver and traveled up a small tributary river of the Rio Negro, going deeper into the reserve and closer to Pico Da Neblina. We were now on our own. We were under the impression that we were self-sufficient with food and fuel for the trip and that we had competent guides that could navigate the area. We would discover how severely mistaken we were.

Traveling down river

In the beginning we were lucky, the weather was great, our motor was cooperating, and we were making good progress into the reserve. We passed through primary rainforest and spotted monkeys and an occasional Yanomami indian fishing on the river. But on the most part, we were in wilderness and saw no one. Eventually we arrived at a small outpost, where a FUNAI representative lived. The skinny old toothless man was in charge of Indigenous tribal protection for the region, and we needed to check in with him. According to him we would need FUNAI permission to visit any Indigenous communities and it wasn’t allowed. We explained our intent was to only climb the mountain and not to visit any indigenous people. We ended up staying a few nights, camping outside of his shack. While there I was shocked when he shared his collection of hard core porn magazines with us and bragged about how easy it was for him to have sex with young Indian virgin girls. I couldn’t believe the irony of this guy being in charge of Indian protection and trying to tell us to stay out of their communities for their well being. 

Me at the FUNAI station

We spent a few days with the FUNAI representative. The equatorial heat was unbearable. During the peak of the day, we tried to stay submerged in the water but we didn’t venture far knowing full well that there were many nasty creatures inhabiting the river’s dark mysterious waters-crocodile, piranhas, sting rays, giant catfish big enough to swallow a man and the most fearsome creature of them all-a tiny fish that can swim up a man’s urethra and become lodged inside. These were all good reasons to stay near the river’s shore.

Then on land there were other hazards as well such as venemous snakes, scorpions, stinging insects, jaguars and mosquito borne diseases primarily malaria.

Me holding a capybera we traded for from Yanomami’s

Yanomami from nearby communities came to visit us and to trade. We traded extra clothes for wild game; capybaras and sting rays. The capybara tasted so bad that I vomited after eating it. It was everything I though a giant rodent would taste like.

Freshwater stingray that we ate-with stinger removed

Lost and Camping with a Yanomami Hunting Party

Traveling down river

Well rested and ready to continue on, we headed deeper into the reserve. The mountains or tepuis started to appear in the distance now and we even caught sight of Pico Da Neblina. We headed into the deep rainforest where we spotted no villages now. We saw lots of monkeys, on one occasion when we were resting near the shore by some bushes, we were only a few feet away from a curious capuchin monkey that stood motionless staring to us. My cheap disposable camera failed to get a decent photo. We continued to follow winding narrow rivers deeper into the reserve. The river would branch off at times and into different directions. I started to worry that our guides were lost. They insisted we were not. Then later in the evening as the dark set in they finally confessed that we were lost. We looked at our map and we didn’t even know if we were still in Brazil. It was possible that we crossed into Venezuela. Then we saw smoke coming from the jungle. It was a Yanomami hunting party gathered on the rivers edge where they camped for the night. Our guides decided we would ask them for permission to camp with them. 

Hunting party camp with roasting monkeys

Yanomami Camp

Yanomami with Giant Black Piranha

The hunting party was shocked to see a group of foreign gringos pulling up to their camp. They were seated in hammocks strung to trees in a small clearing and in the center of the camp was a makeshift barbecue made of branches. Grilling on the barbecue were 1/2  dozen monkeys. The monkeys we were told were being offered to their ancestors and were not meant to be eaten. The Yanomami greeted us and our Yanomami guides were the only ones in our group able to communicate with them. They would then translate to bad Wolff in Portuguese and he in turn translated to us in English. The Yanomami agreed to let us camp with them for the night. Withing 5 minutes of our arrival, we were asked if we had anything to trade. The chief of the hunting party greeted us and asked if he could look at our goods. I came to learn that it would be considerably rude to not have anything to trade to the Yanomamis but luckily we had a lot of clothes and had plenty of extras to trade. Tim had a pair of pink water shoes he bought in Santarem. The chief took a liking to them and offerred to trade us a jungle chicken for them. We agreed to the trade and the chief proudly wore his new shoes around camp. It was a surreal experience staying with the hunting party as the crisp smell of burnt monkeys wafted over us. Some of the indians wore loin clothes and others dirty torn western clothes. They spoke a tonal language that was like nothing I had ever heard before. One of the indians took us fishing for giant black piranhas. He showed us his hand that was missing fingers that he explained were lost to the sharp teeth of piranha. We caught several and cooked them for dinner along with our bush chicken.

Chief presenting us bush chicken for the pink water shoes

Tim presenting the pink water shoes to the chief

Trouble in Camp

That night we cooked piranha over an open fire and sat with the Yanomami eating.  They mostly spoke amongst themselves ignoring us and we had no idea of what was being spoken.  Tim nearly choked on a piranha bone that was stuck in his throat. We stayed close to camp and never ventured far since the jungle was so thick.

 

Tim in his hammock

We were as far from civilization as we could get and in my life this was the most remote place I had been to date. The chief invited us to a party that the village was having. The village he said was a few days by foot and we would need to walk there. The idea sounded fascinating, and we were intrigued by it but we were so locked in on the idea of climbing the mountain and we knew that we didn’t have enough food and money to do both so graciusly thanked the chief but declinded to climb Pico Da Neblina. I don’t think he ever really grasped that we were climbing a mountain for fun. Our guides also expressed hesitancy to go to the village. Legislao was concerned about our safety since once we were in the interior and away from our boat, we would be at the mercy of the hunting party and he explained that there are still some Yanomami that practice cannibalism but mostly only with inter-tribal warfare.  This was likely just our guide exaggerating but we were in a place where anything seemed possible.

In the middle of the night, I woke up to a loud thud and I jolted awake feeling disoriented. Tim lay on the gorund, his hammock became undone and he fell 3-4 feet to the ground hitting his head. He screamed in agony, and the Yanomami awoke and when they found out what happaned, the camp erupted in laughter. Tim embarrased and still in pain angrily expressed some profanities. Now the Yanomami didn’t understand what he said but our guide warned us that some in the group didn’t like his tone and didn’t want us to stay with them anymore. Some even talked of taking our belongings. I noticed a change in atmosphere  but the chief still gloating over his new shoes from our trade intervened on our behalf and suceeded in calming any brewing hostilities. It was still dark and we were going no where so we decided to apologize bringing calm so we could go back to bed and leave at first light. At first light, we packed up and without breakfast, we slipped out of camp and pushed off down the river with our barely saying goodbye. A few in the hunting party did awake and more unpleasant exnchanges took place between our guide and a few individuals in the party. I could definitely observe a look of worry with our guides especially our Yanomami ones.

Once safely away from the camp, Legislao explained that we were lucky to escape and that there were some in the party that wanted to do us harm and steal our possessions. He confessed that some even joked about cooking us alongside the monkeys.

To the Mountain

Thankfully our motor decided to work and our guides now claimed to have a better idea of where we were. They claimed we would be at the trailhead by nightfall. The weather was hot and the sun’s rays blasted us. We wore long sleeve shirts to protect our skin and to guard against bees and other stinging insects. On one occasion, the river was blocked by a fallen tree. While we stopped along the tree to hack it apart with an ax, I was suddenly overwhelmed with sharp little pains throughut my buddy. The tree was infested with army ants and now they were invading our boat and biting all of us. Tim and I quickly jumped into the river to wash them off of us. 

The mountains

Traveling down river-me with a friend I met

Pico du Neblina

late afternoon we arrived to a non-descript river bank, and the guide proclaimed this is the trailhead where we would camp. We pulled off to the river bank and Tim and the guide set off in the boat to hide them in the bush. When Tim returned 30 minutes later, he had a look of terror on his face. He explained that when he stepped off the boat he almost stepped on to a jaraca, the most venemous snake in Brazil. One bite by this snake would have guaranteed death in a remote place like this.  The snake struck at Tim but legislao grabbed him yanking him back into the boat to safety. It was a near miss and one that left Tim shaking. 

The Trek of Doom

Cooking Armadelo 

In the morning we began our long hike. We were supposedly on a trail to Pico Da Neblina, however there were no obvious characteristics of a trail. There was just jungle and a hint of  a trail that would disect into other random trails going into various directions. We set off into the jungle following our guides. After a few hours we came across a camp full of goldminers-garimpieros. Some were barbecuing jungle animals. We stopped and had some armedilo. The reserve and much of the Amazon has lots of gold which is illegally mined  by makeshift gold panning/mining operations in the river and jungles by poor village people who put themselves at odds with indigenious tribes who find their lands being invaded, over hunted and posioned by mercury run off. Tit for tat killings have been a regular ocurrence in the Amazon and this was expecially true in this region. In this region a person could murder someone with impunity since it was so remote and who would even enforce the law even if you could be caught by law enforcement.

Our camp

For the next few days, we hiked deeper into the jungle gradualy gaining in elevation. We each carried all of our food and supplies in our backpacks. Carrying the packs in the heavy heat and humidity was exhausting. We were constantly drenched in sweat and covered in itchy bug bites despite our best efforts to protect ourselves at night. We didn’t cross any more camps of people. We were deep in the forest now and without any clearings in the canopy, everything looked the same. We passed an occasional stream where we would filter drinking water. The water was so thick with sediment that our filters would plug making it a very exhasuting effort to pump water.

Legislao who claimed to have been to the area before-although I am not sure if I believed him- explained that we would reach Pico Du Nublina in a few days. He warned us that we would most definitely experience non-stop rain, which so far we hadn’t experienced. He also warned we had some more dangers ahead. One area he warned was full of venemous snakes and a snake could be found every few feet. Another place was home to a hostile pygmy tribe that is know to attack outsiders with poison darts.  Such stories excited instead of scaring me. But I also knew, like so many things in the Amazon, these stories were likely exaggerated to some extent.

Tim in front of a massive tree

Rabid Monkey attack

We occasionally would hear monkeys in the canopy but we seldomly saw any of them. That is until one decided to attack our guide. I rounded a bend to see what appeared to be a rabid monkey trying to bite my Legidslao’s nephew. It warapped itself around his arm trying to bite him while he tried to push it off. Eventuallyhe was able to wack it on the head sending it scurrying off into a tree.

                Teeth and fur

End of the Road

Our food supply was running thin and it became obvious that we wouldn’t have enough rice and beans to make it all the way to the top of the mountain and back. Our guides explained that we could find more camps in which to buy or trade for food or we could hunt. I didn’t have faith that this would be possible.  We also hiked long streches without finding any water to pump and we would become severely deydrated. Our guide on one occasion cut open some vines with his machete so we could drink from it. We gave it our best effort to keep on going but Tim and I both knew we just didn’t have enough supplies and we had a growing sense of dread that if we continue nothing but bad things will happen. Yet we kept going out of stubbornness. Even Bad Wolff at this point was pleading with us to turn around. He too was miserable. But it wasn’t until Tim started vomiting that we realized it was time to turn around. I don’t know if itwas food poisoning or the heat, but Tim became sick and we convened on the trail discussing our options at this point and we decided it would be smart to turn back. The mountain wasn’t worth dying over. Sadly we never made it to Pico Du Neblina and we don’t even know how close we made it to the mountain since we still coudln’t see anything through the thick canopy. We turned around and began to trace the same path back to our boat. 

Bad Wolff feeling defeated

Camp Visit by a Jaguar

Cooking fish at camp

Every night we would tie our hammocks and mosquito net to nearby trees and we would sleep in a hammock. We didn’t have tents with us but we did have a rain tarp in case of rain. Sleeping in a hammock was more comfortable because of the cooling breeze at night but this also left us more vulnerable to prowling night animals. One night when we were camping  in a particulary remote and towering section of forest, I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of something large moving across our camp. Our campfire that we light for cooking every night was out and when I looked around camp I saw nothing but darkness.  I could hear the soft rustling of moving around camp. It sounded too large to be a monkey. When the movements drifted away, I faded back off to sleep. In morning, we found jaguar tracks in camp. Our guide proclaimed the tracks to be that of a black panther, which he said is a man killer.

Jaguar tracks

Torn shirt we found

Gold miner camp

During the morning while returning to the gampiero camp we came across days earlier, we saw a torn shirt near some jaguar prints. We didn’t think much of it until we arrived in the camp when someone there in a state of panic described how one of their friends in camp had been killed the night before by a black panther. All thst remained of the man was a severed limb and we couldn’t help but to wonder if the shirt belonged to the diceased man.

Floating Down the River Without Fuel

When we finally arrived to the river, I was ecstatic to find that our boat and motor were still there waiting for us. It seemed that maybe we just might make it out of this place and live to see another day.  We set off downriver as thunderclouds encroached and for the first time it rained on us. Then almost as soon as it began to rain, we ran out of fuel and our motor stopped. It seems we failed logistically on almost every level, food, directions and now fuel. We ran out of fuel.  Now all we could do is cover ourselves under a tarp as the rain pelted us and it grew dark. Eventually when the rain stopped and the moon lit up the river bank, the forest took on a magical setting. Everything came to life. The sounds of the forest were so loud and lightning bugs and moonlight lit up the jungle. The rain had given the forest a new sense of life. I sat in the boat freezing and wet but in awe with my sorroundings. At one point we could hear a jaguar calling from the river bank. I didn’t know what the peculiar sound was at first until Legislao explained it was a jaguar. We floated down the river all night in the dark until we eventually caught a glimpse of the FUNAI station where we had stayed when we first entered the reserve. We steered over to it and collapsed on the rocky shoreline in exhaustion. 

Caollapsed in exhaustion after arriving to the FUNAI station

Guests of Honor at a Yanomami Village

We recovered for a few days at the FUNAI station where we were able to buy food and replenish some supplies. Some of the Yanomami that traded with us at the station invited us to their village. The station chief told us we didn’t have permission to visit and we would need to obtain a permit in Brasilia. I explained to the chief that we were anthropologists interested in studying the tribe for research. When he heard me say anthropologist he said well why didn’t you say so before. Anthorpologists are allowed to visit the village but not tourists. I’m fairly positive the FUNAI chief made up the rules as he saw fit but I wasn’t going to argue. We set off in our boat with him to a nearby Yanomami village. 

Yanomami Tribe

Me with some tribal members

Me and the chief

As soon as we arrived the entire village greeted us. Everyone’s faces were painted, and most women were topless and many wore some form of western clothing. I immediately could tell we were being sized up for our trading potential. We greeted the chief who stood half the size of me. We laid out all of the items we brought to trade, which we expected to give as gifts. The village shaman inspected every item we brought before accepting it. Evidently he was the last line of spirtual defense before the hand over of our gifts. He needed to pray over every item and with the guidance of the spirits he would determine if an item was evil and should be rejected. Almost every item was accepted except for a pair off extra sunglasses and a shirt I donated. These items were rejected by spirits and returned to us.  In return the village presented us with beautifully hand woven baskets and necklaces made of beads. One was in the shape of a parrot. 

Tim and I with the chief and his wives

Tim, I and our guide, Legislao with Yanomami kids

Tribal lady

Us posing with the tribe

Tim and I leaving the tribe with our new presents

We eventually made it back to Sao Gabriel and stayed with legislao’s family again. Sadly someone, we suspected to be Bad Wolff, stole some our last remaing funds-100USD and one of our disposable cameras, which contained half of the photos we took during the trip. We never did find out for sure who stole it but it didn’t matter because we were just happy to be alive. We returned to Manuas via the week long public ferry and from there we flew to Recife to stay with our Brazilian friends one more time  before returning to the USA.

In all we spent a little over one month in the Amazon. Even though we didn’t accomplish our goal and climb Pico Du Neblina, I feel like our trip was still a success because we managed to go to one of the wildest places on Earth with very little money and we were able to experience an adventure we will never forget.

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