Click here to see our Cape Tribulation pictures
Why don’t I pay someone $40 to take me in the middle of the night through a damp, dark jungle in a region in Australia that has some of the most poisonous creatures in the world, not to mention some of the largest spiders and disgusting insects?
Well, of course there was no way in hell that Shru was stupid enough to follow me along on this brain-dead adventure; although I can say that I was very close to convincing her to go and I can honestly say that I am soooo glad I have poor powers of persuasion. The bugs were one thing, but the encounter with the 10-12ft python slithering through the limbs above our head could have put me in the doghouse for months!
I won’t go into the gory details of every moment of the 2hr jungle hike because the first hour or so was actually rather uneventful. There was lots of scrambling through narrow slippery trails. It had been raining on and off for several days in Cape Tribulation so the jungle was a soggy mess. As we slogged along we were forced to swat away countless large flying insects that we didn’t bother to identify…unless they were on someone else’s back…in which case we pointed, laughed, and took pictures to show each other on the trip back..he he 🙂
However, the last hour brought out a hoard of larger critters with bad intentions. First, we nearly walked into a foot long centipede climbing across a tree trunk, then we ran into a few webs with rather large, mean looking spiders; one in the process of consuming an entire grasshopper whole. Next up, we ran into some cool harmless looking frogs and then a huge toad that apparently was introduced by the Europeans to curtail some insect plague or something, but now the toads are taking over and smashing everything in their sight.
At this point, the 20-something yr old guide said he’d take us down a different route to the edge of a river to see if we could spot some crocodiles. What! Spot crocodiles, on foot, in the jungle at night while navigating through narrow trails on the edge of a river. “OKAY, sounds good,” I try to say as confidently as possible as my innards simultaneously retreated to the safety of my stomach. The guide and the other three of us were separated by about 2 inches, as no one wanted to be the straggler hangin’ too far back that gets ambushed by the 14 foot monster croc. That’s how it always happens in the movies…someone stops to tie their shoe and WHAM, monster slurps them up and escapes into the jungle then everyone else looks back and wonders where the poor bastard went. Nope, not me, I pushed and shoved to stay right dead in the middle of a bunch of guys…sad but true.
We were so busy looking left and right for the inevitable ambush that what we didn’t see the huge python slithering a few feet above our heads. One of the dudes on the trip, shined his lamp up into the branches and let out the wimpiest scream ever…he was a 6’2’ Australian, so a sad day in his history also. We all quickly backed off and watched the python extend his body a good 9-10ft so it could move from one tree to the next….WOW!
A short while later, we nearly stepped on another rather large snake curled up and ready to strike at anything. The guide was a creature-freak so he was having the best night of his life, apparently two snakes on one tour is uncommon for him. He identified it as a highly venomous green tree snake, and proceeded to antagonize it by getting way to close and poking it with a stick to try to get it to strike. I snapped off a few pictures at a safer distance and said a few prayers for boy-genius in the hopes that he wouldn’t be mortally wounded so he could show us the way back through the crocodile and snake infested jungle.
As it ended up, there were no injuries but no crocs either, which was a little bit of a bummer after the build-up; apparently the crocs had pushed further down the river toward warmer waters due to the weather. Oh well, still we managed quite a haul of creepy critters and it was a cool experience. Oh, and I thought I lost Shru’s camera case in the jungle, but I left it in the back of the tour van and we picked it up the next day. I narrowly avoided another packing list strikeout…in case you didn’t know, Shru is closely monitoring our stuff like a hawk to see how many things I can manage to lose over four months of travel. Two months in, I’ve ‘misplaced’ a towel, two pairs of sunglasses, and one pair of socks. Really, if you know me, that ain’t all that bad.