Finally, anxious to use my feet again I embarked on a ten mile walk even though there were no roads. A youthful guide outfitted in long baggy pants and knee high rubber boats led me into the humid forest and soon proved to be smarter than me.
After just a mile of slogging along the soggy trail I slipped on a large rock hidden by a six inch cover of sparkling green moss. Down I tumbled, head first, falling over a small ridge, gliding precariously through thick gobs of mud, grasping razor edged ferns which snapped at my touch and bouncing painfully into a cold stream. A loud burp from an ugly brown toad me greeted my embarrassing arrival to his home.
So much for being a jungle race walker!
The guide laughing, but obviously concerned for my safety, asked if I wanted to quit. I had traveled nine hundred miles to become dirty and scraped in La Mosquetia and was determined to continue. For another two hours we maneuvered over rocky slippery trails through the humid forest. Tall leafy trees blocked the sun. It rained. In the sudden chill I regretted wearing a short sleeve shirt. Mosquitoes and flies ignored my repellent, chewed on my ears and found a comfortable resting place up my nose.
Then a clearing. A young woman and her several small children stared at us as we swung machetes hacking our way out of the underbrush. The family wouldn’t respond when I spoke to them in Spanish but I could hear their thoughts, “So this is what a gringo race walker looks like. Weird!”
Exhausted, filthy and hungry I peered out of the square hole which served as a window in my little hotel exchanging hand signals with a woman who lived in the house in the gully. Soon I was devouring a platter full of rice, beans, and chucks of manioc. Warm coke helped wash down this welcome food and quickly put me to sleep.