At the beginning of the year, when I made my 2016 Bucket List, I added a night walk in the jungle. It was an easy goal to reach because back then, I had already booked my trip to Peru and knew we would set out at night into the Amazon.
Just as I had expected, it was amazing.
Have you ever gone on a nightwalk? When I was a child, I sometimes went on nightwalks with my teachers. I always loved them because what could be more awesome than being in the woods at night? Unfortunately, back then, there were twenty-five of us and since each of them was equipped with a torch and ready for mischief, the atmosphere wasn’t quite as I would have liked it to be.
The Amazon was different. The jungle was dense, the night as dark as it could get and animals could be lurking just behind the bushes without us noticing.
Or in the bushes, which is where we found most creatures.
We hadn’t even made it far down the path when we came across our first giant spider. Now, giant doesn’t mean the same for everyone. I live in Germany. Spiders here are tiny. Any spider larger than a 1-cent-coin is considered very huge by me. Those spiders were gigantic! And the nets they had put up were massive.
One of our guides told us that many of the spiders put up their nets again every evening because they get destroyed during the day. Imagine having to do that. I don’t know how they manage, and suddenly, the spiders seemed a bit less disgusting and a lot more fascinating.
A bit further down the path we came across a snake. Unfortunately, the picture I took was blurry. I bet you can imagine how bad the light conditions were in the jungle. The only light we had were our torches and it turned out that my head torch, while being useful when going for a toilet in the dark, wasn’t very powerful in the Amazon jungle.
We walked for a while, coming across moths, butterflies and frogs along the way.
During the day, most of those animals are sleeping. They come out after sunset so we got to see lots of them. A light breeze rustled the leaves around us and sounds came from behind the bushes, making me jump ever so often.
At one point, our guides told us to stand still and turn off our flashlights.
And there we were, in complete darkness. I looked up but the canopy was too dense to see any stars. Two lightning bugs light up nearby, then the jungle turned black again. I stood frozen to the spot, afraid that anyone was going to move and scare me.
My breath seemed unnaturally loud in my ears as I wondered if a jaguar was watching us. I wouldn’t have been surprised to discover glowing eyes blinking back at me. It must have been only a few minutes but it felt like so much longer until our guides turned their flashlights back on.
I let out a breath of relief.
The darkness was still around us but it helped to see the rest of the group and to know that we were together. As scary as it was, I’m glad we got that moment of perfect darkness.