08-Aug-2012 -- My trip from Santa Cruz de la Sierra to Villa Tunari back to Santa Cruz took about 3 days. The purpose of this journey was to sample some of the spectacular rivers coming down from the highlands of Cochabamba – flowing together in the lowlands of the Beni to create one of the basins of the Amazon. After visiting Río Yapacaní, Río Ichilo and the Río Mamoré nearby Puerto Villaroel, I was leaving the national road 7 before reaching Chimoré. From the main road I was heading to north – on a fresh trail used by trucks to remove huge, cut trees out of the forests.
This green and fertile area – between the Amazon lowlands and the last branches of the Yungas – is losing more and more of its natural tropical forests. Slashing and burning for new large scale, extensive cattle grazing or intensive coca cultivation.
Almost 1 km from the confluence, I left my car in the middle of a cut-and-burn area - just as I thought before looking at the old satellite pics on Google Earth. I hoped to reach the confluence easy and quickly. At the end I was spending about 2 hours to approximate the confluence at least to 90 meters – fighting with mosquitoes, the heat, fallen trees, and insuperable vegetation. You shouldn't underestimate the “jungle”, never!
When rainforest is disturbed, such as by human activity, the disturbed area is opened, permitting the penetration of large amounts of light. Fast-growing plant species intolerant of shade are temporarily favored. Soon a huge, dense, irregular mass of greenery, or “jungle”, covers the gap created by the disturbance.
The confluence is located just in one of this old, disturbed gaps or nowadays in a jungle. Even worse because all area was still wet and moist!