My buddy Rich and I get into trouble, not drinking trouble mind you, or trouble with the law. No, we get into the kind of trouble where afterward you think, “shit, we could have died.” I have, in no particular order found myself in the middle of a river with Rich thinking, “we are not going to make it across,” on a ledge with Rich thinking, “we are not going to make it down,” and (and this is today’s story), in the middle of the Amazon, lost and losing a mano a mano confrontation with a group of monkeys.
It never starts off wrong, and this one didn’t either. We were at a research station that will rename nameless to protect the innocent somewhere down the Tiputini River in Ecuador. Against the admonishment of others we had headed off down a poorly laid trail and then halfway down the trail had followed an animal path, then the sound of a large bird, then the sound of a group of monkeys. I have ended up in some marvelous corners of the world after having chased an animal down a trail and this was no exception. We were in a tall, open forest with large-buttressed trees all around us. It was primordial in that way that tropical forest is “supposed to be” but rarely is. Just above us were the monkeys, who were at this time looking back down at us. I’m not sure what they were thinking, but they couldn’t have possibly been as pleased themselves as we were with ourselves at that moment.