Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nightwalk





I experienced many "firsts" on this trip including walking in the rainforest at night. After a rushed dinner at the Daintree Rainforest Retreat Motel, Laurel and I drove 20 minutes up the dark and windy road in the rain to the spot where we would meet our guide for our night walk. Wisely we had scouted out the turnoff during daylight hours and knew where the dirt road was located at Coopers Creek. It was kind of creepy bumping in the pitch dark down the dirt road but Laurel assured me we were in the correct place. We finally saw some lights from a house up ahead. We parked and our guide came out to meet us, flashlights in hand.

We were the first arrivals of our group of eight. Three giggly Italian girls in sundresses showed up next then 2 other couples. We were told that we needed to walk in single file about 3 meters apart and use our flshlights to search for animals hidden in the forest. If he saw anything he would stop and point it out. He said we would do a rotation every 10 minutes so that we would all have a chance to walk near him- he would shine his flashlight on the ground and we were to stand in his"circle of light" spot until everyone else went by, then take up the rear.

We went into the humid, sauna-like jungle and he had us turn off our flashlights. If you looked up you could see a little light from the moon between the dense forest canopy, but side to side was pitch blackness. He said people never came into the jungle at night before flashlights because it was too hard to see and too easy to get lost. I believe it. I would never find my way out of there even with a flashlight. It was tempting to walk on each others' heels instead of keeping the recommended distance at first.

Our guide stopped to point out various large spiders, sleeping birds and insects. I was hoping for something a bit more exciting, not that just being there sweating profusely in the dark wasn't interesting in itself... When Laurel had her turn behind the guide he stopped and said "python on the path straight ahead". Sure enough, there was a 12-15 foot python on the path. It lay there as our group gather close and then it began to slither away into the undergrowth. It moved completely silently and we watched in awe as it stretched out in full length. Glad that I didn't step on that.

A short while later one of the Italian girls gasped and pointed to another python on the side of the path that 5 people had just walked by. We gathered up again and waited for it to move on. The guide said we were really lucky to have seen two pythons in one walk. There were countless dragons (bearded lizards) and frogs and toads and even some butterflies.

I used my walking stick (ski pole) for the one and only time on the trip. I was glad that I had it because it was fairly treacherous going for most of the time. The path was full of gnarly roots and uneven gorund. I couldn't believe how much I was sweating in the dark. I was completely wet with perspiration- it felt like it was just running off of me. I don't think I have ever been so drenched at night before. We walked for two hours. The last 15 minutes or so we were in an open field and walked along the forest edge. The breeze there felt wonderful. This was truly amazing. I wish that I had brought my camera because there were moments that I could have taken photos but I didn't think it would be possible. Oh well, we all know what pythons look like. Of course, it is a bit different sensation to have them out of a cage and lying on the path right in front of you...

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