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.