Update Dec 2015, by Roy Vail PDF Print E-mail
Written by ABOFOA   
Thursday, 24 December 2015 01:08

In January of 2012  I, Roy Vail, went to Pucacaca and had a very rewarding trip.  One of the most amazing things that happened was with

the youth section of ABOFOA.  We climbed a very steep rock face towards a location where a species of Melocactus was native.  I have

no doubt it is an endemic species.  I was not able to safely make the entire climb, so a few of the young fellows went ahead, got one of

the Melocactus, and broughtit to where I could take a photo of it.  On the way down, as they were helping me, I stopped and said

"foto."  So, they took the photo.




(They even gave me gloves)

Some things to notice in the "foto."  I have a yellow shirt on.  Part of the New Year's Eve customs in their area is to ware yellow.

The youth with he gray hat next to me was from Spain.  Behind us, the cleared area with dirt steps.  Notice too they put a rope in

place for my safety.  Behind us, the cleared steps no doubt they made themselves, so I could make this climb.  My understanding

now is that ABOFOA no longer has a youth group.  The adult sponsor of it is longer available.  Photo below is the Melocactus, as

they set it up next to a rock.  They wanted it to look like it did in the place where they collected it.

Then, April 13, 2012, Pucacaca had a terrible flood.  The photos show the massive amounts of water.  This was not a case where a river

flooded an area next to it, it was a case where extreme rains in an area, washed down into a river.  Unfortunately, this is part of the

nature of Tropical Dry Forests.








- - - -

I returned in late February, early March of 2014 and was given an honor which I feel is great as anyone could be given.

The picture shows the group, inside the auditorium. I am standing next to a concrete, gold painted statue of myself, which

has one leg human, and the other leg that of a deer.  This means the people, citizens, of Pucacaca, San Martin, Peru,

consider me to be a Chullachiqui. (chu-ya-CHA-key)  A Chullachiqui is a spirit that lives in the forest.  It can take any form,

but always has one leg different from the other.  If you are in the forest to hurt the forest, a Chullachiqui can appear and

lead you deeper and deeper into the forest to get you more and more lost.  In this way it is a  guard of the forest.  So,

they consider me to be a spirit who lives in their forest to protect it.


I was honored again when I became the one to plant young Quinilla trees in the city plaza of Pucacaca.  The hope here is

that, in the future, their plaza will become like a forest of Quinilla trees.



Also a group of young students took me, carefully, up a mountain to a place where a new communication tower had

been built.  We went up and down through valleys not noticeable from ground level.  The weather was a mist as the

muddy ground shows.  When we got back down to the plaza, we were a real mess.  We stopped at City Hall, went on

to the auditorium, cleaned up a little, and had a dance.




In March of 2015 another disaster struck.  A spark from a coconut factory caught the thatch roof of that very

auditorium on fire. ABOFOA built it, by hand, in the city.  The destruction was extensive as the photos show.




By September of 2015 much rebuilding had been done, with the new roof being metal.




I  am writing this in late December of 2015.  The newest project in the ABOFOA forest, out by the research station,

is a canopy walkway.  It was designed by Dr. Phil Wittman of Canopy Access.  He is there as I write.  This is his third

and final trip for this project.  Both he and the members of ABOFOA have worked very very hard on this.  His design

has a three layer tower from which the walkway goes out to a platform in a Manchinga tree, then to a second platform

in a Quinilla tree, the type of tree the Crown of the Angeles most commonly grows on, just below the canopy.  Their

skill of rope climbing was essential for this building project.



The general design



Dr. Phil Wittman teaching ABOFOA rope climbing.



The Manchinga tree with the ropes system they have to pull themselves up on, to work on the platform on that tree

Farther down hill is the Quinilla tree.  They have to go farther up with the ropes on it, to build the platforms even

with each other.

- - - - - - - - -

I will arrive just before New Year's Day.

have little idea what to expect.

I truly hope to at least be allowed to sleep up in the canopy one night.

Roy Vail

- - - -

Added Feb 1, 2016:

Although I came within 15 minutes of missing a flight connection from Houston to Lima,

this trip was filled with new experiences.  First, the catwalk. The tower was nearly complete.

Of the two platforms, only the first, the one in the manchinga tree was complete enough for

me to spend the night on.  My night there was New Years, 2016.

We, quite by chance, found that a new, small hotel is being built in Pucacaca.  It has clear

water in the showers and even will have two rooms with air conditioning.  It is next to the

main highway and has a pull-off parking area in front of it, large enough for tourist busses.

While we were there, its owner decided to name it the "Corona de Los Angeles Hotel."

- - -


This platform in the Quinilla tree was not complete enough for me to sleep on.



But this one, in the Manchinga tree WAS!


I am on the platform now.  I was helped up there by Dr. Phil Wittman. Also notice, amazing to me, they

hauled a tent, with a mattress inside, for me to sleep in.  I am wearing a yellow shirt because in Peru

they wear, and decorate with, yellow for New Years Eve.  I decided just to leave it on for being in the canopy.


Me, being lowered from the platform, Jan 2, 2016. Of course taking video.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 February 2016 04:21