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6am, it’s still dark and we have just had our wake up call. It was much cooler last night and we woke up cuddled up together. This was the best night’s sleep I’ve had at Yacutinga.

Today we are starting early. Just coffee, no breakfast. We’re going along a new trail that has just been opened up and we’re the first visitors to go along it. It’s so new that Marito had to find the entrance and at one point went the wrong way so we had to double back.

This was more like jungle walking. The other trails had relatively clear paths and you didn’t really need to watch your step. This one was covered with fallen tree trunks, undergrowth and vines that seemed to come alive and wrap around your feet as you walked. Not surprisingly I cam a cropper and have four beautiful multi-coloured bruises and bumps to show for it.

Even though it was early morning and cool it wasn’t long before we were drenched in sweat. At least the mozzies weren’t out. The trail heads toward the old bed of the Iguazu river which is now a land-locked lagoon on the Yacutinga reserve. We hoped to see monkeys this way as we’d heard them here yesterday.

It was hard going and I have to admit that any interest in spotting local fauna was rapidly overtaken by a survival instinct and the desire to get back to base!

Because of the amount of rain over the last few days the flood plain of the old river had become swamp. We couldn’t reach our end destination and had to turn back, big relief. At 9am we were back on the main road outside Charlie and Micki’s house.

We took the truck down to Yacutinga port and planted a cedar tree each. Our name tags hang on them so its our little bit of posterity in the Yacutinga reserve!

Back at the lodge we took the short walk along the jungle cat trail, a walkway suspended about 50ft above ground. Early morning is the best time to do this walk for the wildlife but we had to do it before we went.

We showered, finished packing and went for our last meal. Chicken pasties, vegetables (potato, tomato and pumpkin) stuffed with mince and fruit salad. We have left a story on the visitors book, bought the polo shirt and said our goodbyes.

Charlie and Micki then drove us back to the meeting point and we’re now sitting in the bar of the Sheraton having a beer, not inside the cool air-conditioned atmosphere but outside on the balcony where we’re still hot and sweaty!

We’ve got a suite again but no managers greeting or freebie wine this time. We have sent our dirties to the laundry service. I’d love to see their expression when they open up our swamp dirty bags!

Charlie went to live in Bariloche and also knows Salta well. He has given us lots of ideas of things to do and the name of a friend in Bariloche for us to contact. Stef’s doing a quick reccie so we can plan our next few days.

Tonight we’ll have to weigh up battle scars, volume of mozzie bites and bruises vs. severity. I think Stef wins on quantity and I win on quality, especially the bruises!

Had a relatively quiet afternoon. Sat on the patio bar enjoying our batidas (mango, rum, sugar, orange, tequila and pineapple for Stef, and mango, pineapple, lemon, papaya, orange, rum, sugar and cointreau for me). We then took a very leisurely stroll along the lower walk and got soaked at the end viewing point where the spray from the fall comes.

We had decided to have a swim on the way back but the sky darkened and a storm set in. We watched it from our balcony. No rain, little thunder, spectacular forks of lightning and very dark skies.

I was very fed up of being damp and smelling of swamps and had a long shower. I even had to turn the air conditioning down/temperature up because the room was too cold! My legs are a bit of a mess and combination of usual swelling, bites and bruises. My whole body aches and feels lumpy and bumpy. Yacutinga was a fantastic experience and I’m really glad we did it. I just didn’t expect to feel so battle weary at the end of it!

We forced ourselves to stay awake during dinner and went to bed early. We must have both been asleep by 10pm.