One would assume that when an expedition comes to a close, the activities would grind to a halt and the intensity of it all would slacken slightly. However, nothing could be further from the truth on a Mike Horn Young Explorers Program expedition to the Amazon.
We started out the day cruising down the Amazon, burning up the distance to Belem. After a few hours of leisurely boating; if you could call sailing down the largest river in the world in an exploration vessel leisurely, we hit a massive storm, and as 40 knots of wind suddenly hit the rigging and masts of Pangaea, the boat started to heel over. This was tremendously exciting, and all 10 of us young explorers could have been found out on deck, creating sails with our bodies and floating in the breeze.
The storm wrapped up pretty quickly, as has often been the case on this expedition. We then pushed on until we arrived at an island that was 1km across and 4km wide. Mike gathered us all into the conference room, sat us down, and told us that we were going to have to cross it solo. My chest suddenly surged with excitement and joy, understanding that this would be a culmination of the best experience of our life. Mike then said we would have the possibility to partner up, and the room was then split in half, with one side solo hopefuls, the other side team players.
I must confess that I was one of the prospective solos, and although I thought that Mike wanted us to go alone, he was really just testing us to see who was brave but irrational, and who was sensible and would go on to survive many expeditions. In the end, we all set out together into dense, tropical primary rainforest. In ten minutes, we advanced 5 meters through the bush, and I was shocked to think that at an earlier point in the night I cold have gone on alone. There is a reason why Mike Horn is as of yet the only man to walk along the Amazon, and there is still so much I can learn from him as our expedition draws to a close.