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 04:52 AM GMT
Bolivia Rules!!

Thru the day we ascended and descended over several mountian
ridges. Rain and sun, rivers and steep jungle mountian sides. The dust was
incredibly blinding at times, and by the evening when we reached Coroico, fun
and excitement had crusted over the bikes our luggage and ourselves.
During this day we encountered a new driving regulation known for this regionīs
dangerous roads. The downhill vehicle supposedly always has the right of way,
and traffic is to stay to the left side of the road. To the right is the
outside shoulderless edge of the road as well. Good for us as we were the
climbing vehicles and were expected to stay to the left lane and to the inside
of the Road. However, this is all good and safe if they were to post signs
making it clear when and where this regulation is to commense. So cruising down
the road in the normal right lane, I had a huge Scandia cargo truck bearing
right down on me. I kept waiting for it to get back into his part of the
road...waiting , waiting....Now whats happening?Ą? Shit.... he's not
responding....into the ditch I went to save my life. Well, I knew at that time
either this driver was crazy, he was a moto killer, or the new driving
regulation had started. However still unsure and still unucustomed to this odd
rule of the road, I was hesitant and confused, I continued to drive the right
side of the road. Plus the last thing I wanted to do was come around another
blind turn and be in the wrong lane right?!!? Well, now skidding, unable to
turn, I know found myself, bearing into my left foot peg with all my might,
while both my brakes applied as hard as they could be, I was now about to be
claimed by a chevy S-10 king cab pick up truck. I also thought this guy was
crazy too, I had now learned the worst most dangerously frightening way
possible about having to drive the left lane on these suicidal roads. The edges
were near as the road was narrow. The cliffs were tall and the river far below.
The raod had numerous cut aways slots where land slides lead straight down for
hundreds of ft. It was even frightening to this well traveled soul. I yelled
out loud several times HOLY SHIT...!! THIS IS FRICK'N INSANE!!! With butteflies
racing within me I had to see waht was over the edge looking beyond and
pondering the consequences.....Keep it up right and take it slow. The trucks
come around the blnd corners at faster speeds than one wold think safe, and
several times had to skid to a stop, staring close into the grills of large
seemingly evil trucks. I claimed one dog, and the lives of several chicken. THe
Dog was unpreventable as it ran down an embankment right in front of me before
I could react, it was under my front wheel and I certainly crushed it badly,
however it did limp away. The 2 chickens would have been perfectly safe
remaining at the roads edge, but with the sound of my moto approaching they
were startled and decided better to get closer to home. Well they tried to get
there a bit too quickly. They ran perpendicular to my approach and took flight
int the middle of the road at full running speed. The roadīs edge came within
feet of their frenzy and the river below was at min. over 75 meters below.
Unfortunately the flowing water and or the large boulders below would have
served them their fate!


Posted by Matt Stackpole at 04:55 AM GMT

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