There is just no way that you can really experience a rainforest without stepping into one. No photograph, film, movie, or book can truly do it justice. The power, majesty, energy, and feeling of a primeval rainforest is incredible yet indescribable. None of the pictures or videos I've taken in my jungle jaunts even come close to capturing it. I can only take solace in knowing that I am not alone in my frustration in trying to record its mystery and beauty for those that will never have the chance to experience it first hand.
The first thing that hits you when you step into the rainforest is the air. It's so heavy with oxygen and humidity that it is almost a tangible thing which just kind of envelops you. There is a heavy, rich stillness to it... because in the heart of a primary rainforest little to no wind really makes in down below the unbroken green canopy of trees above you. The clean oxygen-filled air and the sheer magnitude of living things all around you sort of energizes you somehow. The vibrancy of life you feel flowing around you and through you resonates. It's really hard to describe... but its like all of earth's core elements are there in an abundance that you've never experienced before that it can excite, overwhelm and energize you all at once. In some places, the air stays so heavy with moisture that there is an almost perpetual cloudy fog which envelopes and muffles everything around you and earns the name as a "Cloud Forest."
And yes, the jungle can be hot to some (but us Texans don't really think so!). It can be 100 degrees or a bit more above the canopy where the sun is shining... but 200 feet below, surrounded by dappled shades of every color of green you could possibly imagine, less than 10 percent of the sunlight filters down to the forest floor and it rarely rises above about 80 degrees.
The next thing that hits you is the sheer immensity of the trees and the incredible amount of different types of vegetation that surrounds you. It's an amazing display of Nature in her most flamboyant expression of life. Literally everything around you is in flux - in some state of living, breathing, growing, decaying and dying. You can actually watch some of the plants growing with a naked eye, and huge fallen trees that would take years to return to the earth in a temperate forest are reduced to compost in a month or two. Trees the size of skyscrapers, leaves the size of umbrellas and vines with incredible sizes and shapes seemingly knitting everything together... plants growing out vines which are growing up on trees covered with other plants.... it can be overwhelming to take it all in. Even if you've trekked a lot of forests, you are still caught off guard by the amazing diversity of different plants in a rainforest.
A really good diverse forest in the US has about 12-15 different species of trees in an acre. In the Amazon Rainforest, a single acre of jungle will have about 300 different species of trees and another 300 to 400 species of higher plants... every where you look - you see something new, different and amazing. I think the main problem in trying to capture this on film is perspective. What angle lense do you use to take a picture of a 12 story tree without losing definition, much less one that is surrounded by hundreds of other 12 story trees intermingled with literally hundreds of other species of trees, vines, shrubs and bushes? Even when you try to pan up with a video camera, you still lose the perspective... Not to even mention the lighting problems of shades, shadows and dappled darkness which mute the incredible hues of green!
I will continue to add to this page as time permits and focus more on what my trips into the Amazon are like. I am fortunate to be able to experience and explore the Amazon and its native cultures that the tourist never sees. Maybe I'll write a series of short stories about some of my more memorable adventures as everyone keeps telling me I should.
Which story would you want to read about first?
"Peed On By A Shaman Cuz I Was Snake-Bit in the Jungle"
"How NOT to Forget Where You Parked the Boat" and "Three Days IN the River Without a Boat to be Had" and "Ninety-Six Leeches on your White Shriveled Body Ain't a Pretty Sight" (sheesh, was that ever a long three days!)
"So... It's Your First Communal Tribal Bathing Ritual with 37 Naked Indians, Hmmm?"
"The Shaman's Curse - Or Why You Should Never Piss Off a Jungle Medicine Man"
"That's NOT Cocaine I Swear! - Strip-Searched in Miami"
"The Flirting Habits of Customs Officials"
"The Art of Popping Parasites Out of your Skin with your Pocketknife"
"If They Open Fire... Shoot Back! - Avoiding Drug Runners on the River"
"Tripping Through the Jungle... the Art of Surviving 9 Shamans' Best Psychodelic Hallucinagenic Potions"
"White Slimy Grubs and Why You Have to Eat Them"
"What to Do and Not Do When the Fish is Bigger Than the Boat"
"I Don't Care How Big the Tarantula Was... If You Turn this Canoe Over Again I'll Shoot You"
"Twenty-Seven Indigenous Body Painting Designs of the Jungle and The Socio-Political Ramifications of How To Decide Just Who Gets to Paint What Where"
"Monkey Stew, Sloth Surprize, Rat Rarebit and Other Tribal Food Delicacies"
"How to Avoid Permanent Tatoos and Body Piercings and Still Be Politically Correct with a Shaman"
"Those are NOT Rapids Dammit... That's a Waterfallllllllllllll !!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"Giant Bats and Things That Go Bump In the Night and Where NOT to Hang Your Hammock in the Jungle at Night" (Hint: Bat's like fruit trees... Duh!)
"Don't Worry... its JUST Leprosy" and...
"That's Not a Prostate Infection, A River Water-Demon Climbed into Me When I Wasn't Looking" and...
"What Do Ya Mean I Been 'Kissed By a Rainbow' - My feet are as big as Watermelons!!"
"Medical Diagnostic & Treatment Differences between Jungle Shamans and White Witches"
"The Jungle Rollercoaster... Ropes & Pulleys, Canopy Walkways, Native Climbing Techniques - How to Get to the Top of the Canopy"or more importantly (and following closely)... how to get back down:
"Me Falling 5 Stories Out of a Tree Should NOT Make You Laugh So Hard You Fall Down, Dammit - The Indignities of Tribal Humor"
If you want to see more rainforest pictures:
I have a large gallery of rainforest photos here.
There are pictures of some Amazon Indian tribes I work with on The Company Stuff Page here
Some pictures of me with some of the local jungle birds on the Personal Stuff Page.
And even more pictures from my last few jungle trips to Peru and Brazil are on the Recent Trips Page
If you want to learn more about the Amazon Rainforest - Go here.
If you are a school student that stumbled onto my website
searching for rainforest information for a school report assignment,
check out the page I created at my company website for
help with school reports.
Lastly... here are some pictures of my favorite jungle animals! Thanks for Dropping By!
All the images, pictures and graphics at this website are copyrighted so ask permission first before putting them on other websites!
© Copyrighted 1999 to present by Leslie Taylor, Milam County, TX 77857
Home Page Personal Stuff Company Stuff Rainforest Stuff Herbal Stuff My Books