National Geographic : 1949 Nov
689 Jungle Journey to the World's Highest Waterfall vanced airstrip within two days. More than ever I realized how valuable to the success of the expedition was the radio equip ment, which could make such arrangements from as isolated a spot as this "lost world." On Sunday, May 15, we were up at 5 and ready for the trek out of the canyon. It was Ernie's birthday. While the In dians and Laime were breaking camp and packing everything in the backpacks, I decided on the plan I'd made the day before. I told Laime I was going on ahead alone. I explained that I was so slow on the trail that this would give me a head start. Alone in the Jungle I left camp blithely at 6, sure in the knowledge that the rest of the group would be along within a few minutes. The trail was not too difficult to follow, and the few times I did get lost for a moment I would simply make a small circle and find the blazed bushes. I had not been out more than half an hour, however, when the realization of being alone in the jungle descended on me with crushing force. The light drizzle of rain and wet leaves had me soaked to the skin. How weird the jungle seems when there is no one else around! The sudden sounds While and crackles; the momentary soft and terror at passing a lair where and plaiti animals have bedded down; the author the unmistakable odor. I won- bathed d l dered if the beasts were still watching me through the underbrush. I h tated to go forward, and I didn't want to back to join the group that must be so where behind. I wondered whatever in the world had p sessed me to start out without a machete a knife or something! Finally, reasoning o came terror. Nothing visible moved exc a bird resembling a chicken and a few lizal Laime and Enrique caught up with m little after 8. We were determined to m the main camp in one day, but Laime frankly gloomy at the prospects of my end ance on the long trip. Although impati over the time that would be wasted, La Little Simona Gets Her Pigtails Braided all the Indians' hair was long and black, it was not coarse but silky. The women and children were usually busy combing ng when they visited the camp at Uruyen. Combs and pins ir gave them delighted them. Cleanly in their habits, they lily in a stream near by. esi- agreed that we would take five minutes each go hour for a rest period. me- The last few hours were sheer torture for me. I kept getting slower and slower. How )os- Enrique and Laime kept such a pace I simply or couldn't see. They would patiently wait for ver- me at the more difficult places, and often, at a :ept riverbank, shout encouragement or point out rds. the safest rocks or logs to pass over. ea Somehow we made the main camp late in ake the afternoon. I have a dim memory of the was last hours, the fording of the last stream, the lur- last bog to drag my waterlogged jungle boots ient through, the last wet, slippery log to climb ime over, and, finally, voices in the distance.