Lost In The Forest: February 8, 1998

Everyone wakes up to the sound of the howler monkeys, but at least one person is anxiously awaiting it: Ellen Andresen. Ellen’s work involves dung beetles, and to catch a lot of dung beetles, you have to find a lot of dung— howler monkey dung, to be specific. So while everyone else is just thinking about getting out of their hammocks, Ellen is off into the forest, using the sound of the howler monkeys to lead her to the group’s resting place... and latrine. Geoff and Flavio have drawn “Taping Ellen at Work” as their morning assignment, so without even coffee, they’re off into the forest after her, trailing cameras, microphones and lights. You can join them following Ellen at work, too. But you can sleep in and do this at a more convenient hour. (See Program 2.)

Ellen Andresen is pictured at right.

The rest of the crew, having wisely chosen later assignments, gather around the camp kitchen to eat, talk, and make preparations for the day’s work. There’s a little excitement as people get up; seems a snake found its way into John’s mosquito netting during the night! Luckily for John, it was harmless, but especially lucky that it wasn’t able to get into his hammock, regardless of its venomless state. Note to ourselves: next time bring not only mosquito netting but snake netting, too!

First order of business is to get ready to go out into the real rainforest—the narrow, muddy trail from the main road that we hiked yesterday with our gear will turn out to be a superhighway compared to the trails we’ll be experiencing today! Chiggers, ants, biting flies, and snakes are all along the paths; despite the heat, no scientist goes out in the field without heavy boots, long pants and long-sleeved shirt, and neither do we. It turns out to be a surprise of the rainforest that you don’t need a raincoat. After the muggy heat of the trails, it’s a relief to get rained on and finally cool off! Upon returning to Manaus, we banish our slickers to the hotel closets, not to appear again until we pack for home.

Ann’s Journals Lost In The Forest    1     2     3     4