Up on high
This afternoon we set out to see the lookout tower - a 30m high steel jobbie with platforms every 10m and a ladder to climb up. We hoped it wouldn't be too bootleg or rickety. When we arrived, it was more impressive than we'd imagined but that didn't do much to quell my height fright.
Matt's mental image of the tower had apparently involved an open "cage" constructed like dinosaur ribs around the ladder, with a rib every 4 feet. Which is exactly what this tower looked like. My mental picture was really more of a bouncy castle-looking thing, with one of those huge air-filled streamers to break my fall. The real thing did not instill much confidence. While those cages may be built to prevent you from falling out horizontally, their only practical purpose for me was stirring up visions of braining yourself or breaking limbs. So naturally I made it about 15 feet up the steel rungs before my arms and legs went all jelly-like and I climbed down. Matt, on the other hand, gallantly climbed the whole way to document it for your and my enjoyment.
The forest is broken down into different layers - ground, shrub (1-6m), mid layer or closed canopy (12-30m), canopy (30-40m), and emergent layer (above 40m). Each layer is largely a different ecosystem, with different plants, animals, insects and humidity. So a tower is certainly a good thing to find in a rainforest.
After our - I mean Matt's - foray up high, we headed back and were greeted by a pretty good yet brief rainstorm. Matt remarked at how much being in the rainforest makes you itch for, well, rain. But not fat, gushing downpours like they seem to have here. You hope for a real tropical mess - one that brings high winds, sizzling lightning and lots of sideways rain. Well, maybe a storm is not the best thing to wish for in the jungle when the most common death is people getting hit with treefall during them. Still, I have to agree. It's hard to be here with all the tension in the air - especially from the humidity - and not want that release. Today we happily settled for the lazy, fat droplets that came down directly on our heads, cooling us off a bit and giving us a nice jungle shiver.
Enjoy the shots...