June 04, 2003 GMT
Excerpts from an adventure.....Madidi Nat. Park

Our last day we woke to heavy rains, slipping and sliding on the clays surfaces and numerous roots and vines. At on point Jim and the guide(Sandro) had gotten ahead of me as I was tangled up in some bush and vines.
Not having a MAchette I had to untie myself. After doing so I could no longer
see the trail or where they had gone. I Stood there wondering which way.
Suddenly I noticed a large animal traversing my direction. Not sure if it was
one or several animals, I barely made the figure out to be pig like...I called
out for help as I thought I was about to be attacked by a pack of Wild Bore.
At this time the beast stopped. It looked my direction and saw me standing alone.
I now realized that this was a single animal, larger and meaner looking than a
wild bore. It was about a 350 kilo.(700lb) Tapir.....The Tapir Looked me down
and started to charge me. I froze, I yelled, the animal coming thru the bush,
immense in size It looked like a Rhino, it had a funny long snout and a
mohawk, the animal was about to trample me and I could do nothing about it...and
luckily Sandro came running. The beast got within 5 meters from me and stopped
as it noticed two of us. Sandro witha large Machette in hand was laughing at
as the animal ran off in another direction. He yelled Tapir, MAteo, Tapir, you
saw a tapir....He stabbed his machette into the ground and was bent over
laughing in amusement. I just stood there for a moment trying to collect my
bowels before I could enjoy the incident as well. Soon it was all good fun. We
descended out of the steep hillside into a narrow river, walking thru the
thru the knee deep waters, we walked onwards to an area of cliffsides where
Loros nest. Along the river banks we spotted several areas of JAguar tracks,
and more tapir tracks. Although we did not see a Jaguar in the flesh I am
to know that they are living healthy and in numbers within this region. We
arrive to a larger river wher ewe constructed a Balsa Wood raft with about 7
logs, and some small rope. We used some large bamboo shoots to paddle and
with as we desended thru the flowing waters class 1 rapids) about 5 kilometers
down river to our first days camp.

Posted by Matt Stackpole at June 04, 2003 04:52 AM GMT

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