Hiking in Amboró has been the best and most rewarding aspect of this trip, thus far. Nature in and of itself both astounds and stimulates me, but the Amazon was like nothing I have ever experienced. It is nearly untouched by man, a rare find in this time, and this created challenges I didn’t imagine or prepare for. I normally would consider myself in fair shape and a decent hiker, but this expedition invalidated these beliefs. This wasn’t just hiking up slight inclines and trudging through the forest; this was scaling boulders and mountains, tramping through cold waters for hours, cautiously analyzing my surroundings for dangerous obstacles or creatures. I consider my average hikes soothing experiences that aid my connecting with nature and the universe, but this was equivalent to a difficult exam that required intense concentration; any misstep could result in my injury or death. However, this heightened risk is exactly what made it so gratifying and exhilarating. I was no longer a mere observant of nature, but a participant within it. I was not able to passively observe and walk by without truly noticing the vitality and danger of the environment.
This appreciation and awe for the raw energy and power that nature possesses then leads to my sorrow for its demise at the hands of humanity. While walking to the national park, we passed tracts of land that were plowed to the ground; hundred year old trees liquidated for capitalist profit. This elucidates the necessity for buffer zones, to protect history and life. Yet, not only is this demolishing flora, it destroys ecosystems, the homes of numerous animals and creatures. Humanity is single handedly responsible for the genocide of most aspects of nature; we continue to pilfer away wildlife for personal, greedy gain, without considering the future consequences that will affect both us and Earth. It’s just dispiriting to know that most individuals are more concerned about themselves and their own comfort than the health and further existence of the whole world. This hike has provided ample perspective of myself and of humanity, leaving an enduring mark on my soul. I only hope that I can contribute to the counter-movement in saving and protecting our world so that both it and we can continue to prosper for years to come.