It is surmised by rain forest specialists that there is an almost 100% fall-rate of trees in the rain forest and that it is a good thing. Trees get tall and tired and when they fall down, a space is opened up for a new little tree to scoot in and grab some sunlight and have a chance at a good life.

The process of trees falling and new trees springing up can be a long one. Much patience is needed by your typical rain forest plants.unless the process can be expedited a bit! This week was a “week off” from kayaking trips and Ken, Angel and I opted to play Mother Nature on our Quijos property here in the Oriente.
The After Shot of our hard work!

Destination: our little garden spot on the Quijos; a piece of property we purchased almost ten years ago, mainly for preservation-sake. Preservation and the fact that the location makes for a perfect put-in/take-out spot on the Quijos.

When we arrived this year we noticed that the landscaping had taken a turn for the worse, taking on an almost impenetrable jungle appearance.
Day Four: And still more to do!!

Many of the fruit trees scattered throughout the property were so starved for sunlight that they were no longer producing. We want the fruit trees to continue producing the guayabas because they are a favorite fruit for the migrating birds that swing through the property, and the lime tree for the consumers of cuba libres, whom need a fresh lime to top off a good nightcap!

Trading in flip flops for knee-high “botas” this week, we loaded up a chain saw, machete, and energy and spent four days clearing things up a bit. Ken was the chainsaw guy.
Who thought Mother Nature was so cute???

Angel the machete guy and not being checked out for sharp instruments, I had the lackey job: dragging the limbs and brush cut down by Ken and Angel. And the job of repositioning homeless bromeliads into new spots so that they could thrive!

Angel sharpening up his machete

Bromeliades run rampant throughout the property!

Let me tell you, playing Mother Nature proved to be a lot harder work than I had anticipated for our down week. A daily laborer in this neck of the woods would earn $10/day plus lunch for the work we were doing. Aside from just healthy gratification for a good day’s work, our daily wage was a meal of oreos, peanut butter and one cold beer at the end of the day.

Ken and Angel summing up the work needed to be done.
Each evening we finished up wet, dirty, tired, and sore. But our spirits always lifted after a few minutes of sitting and listening to the oro pendulas, gallo-de-penas, and other birds regroup after being scared off by our busy work.

Letting in a little sunshine
We were reminded each day that the Quijos Valley is a magical place.

By the fourth day of our manual labor, I think all three of us were happy that we needed to return to Quito. It was time to find our fellow guides: Brian who took off to see if he could substantiate his and Ken’s idea of the route to the hidden Inca gold, and Craig and Linc who were off checking out Tinguaragua Volcano erupting in Banos. And back in Quito, we will now gather up our new group of kayakers for this next week’s trip! Trading in machetes for kayaks, it will be good to be back kayaking with a group of good friends who are escaping the chilly weather of the US for a week of Class III boating here in Ecuador.