icons/avalancheicons/bootscompassfacebookicons/gloveshandsicons/hearticons/helmeticons/ice axeinstagramminusmountainicons/pathsMap Pinplusicons/questionicons/guideicons/ropeicons/gogglesicons/stafftenttwitteryoutube

Amazon Dispatch from Mark Gunlogson

In 1956 the Ama­zon for­est, peo­ple known as the Huao­rani caught the atten­tion of the world. The sto­ry of five mis­sion­ar­ies being killed by the Huao­rani cre­at­ed a media sen­sa­tion across the globe that ush­ered in what became a long-stand­ing per­cep­tion of these peo­ple being noth­ing less than undig­ni­fied sav­ages. Fast for­ward to 2013 and you find a peo­ple and their once boun­ti­ful home­land of primeval trop­i­cal rain­for­est sur­round­ed by the mod­ern world. While per­cep­tions may have improved; log­ging, oil explo­ration, mis­sion­ar­ies, and tourism have now all made their way into what was once con­sid­ered inpen­e­tra­ble forest. 

Tom­mor­row morn­ing my daugh­ter Ellie and I will trav­el from Quito to this area. After a four hour dri­ve from the Andean high­lands that plunges from snow-clad peaks, through cloud forests, and final­ly into the trop­i­cal zone, we’ll under­stand what makes Ecuador one of the most geo­grapghi­cal­ly and eco­log­i­cal­ly diverse places on the plan­et. From the town of Shell, (yes, named after the oil com­pa­ny,) we hop on a small Cess­na for a flight into the Huao­rani ter­ri­to­ry and a small land­ing strip cut out of the for­est. From here the adven­ture begins.

Pre­vi­ous flight over the Ama­zon. Oswal­do Freire photo

I’m quite cer­tain my excite­ment for this sur­pass­es that of 8‑year-old Ellie as she knows not what lies before her! There is no inter­net, so not sure when the next dis­patch will be, but stay tuned as I’ll be call­ing in on a satel­lite phone. In the mean­time we’ll be enjoy­ing the lux­u­ri­ous com­forts of Rumilo­ma, a lodge owned and oper­at­ed by Moun­tain Mad­ness guide Ossy Freire, before we head out.