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Photo: Photographer Olivier Laude
Photographer Olivier Laude

Photo: Contributing Editor Jim Thornton
Contributing Editor Jim Thornton
Welcome to the Jungle
When you're a guest in one of the most remote rain forests in the world without the aid of modern conveniences, all you can do is learn from the locals—and keep out of harm's way. By Rachel Scheer

Sprinting through the Amazon's untamed forests, swinging on vines à la Tarzan, eluding poisonous snakes—it's all part of the modus vivendi (way of life) of the Huaorani Indian tribe in Sandoval, Ecuador. For the feature story "Jungle Apprentice" in the October 2004 issue, photographer Olivier Laude and Contributing Editor Jim Thornton took a crash course from the experts on how to survive and thrive in the Amazon rain forest.

Laude and Thornton immersed themselves in the way of life of the Huaorani, a remote tribe of native Ecuadorians who've resisted modernization and continue their time-honored traditions. For our duo, maintaining the heart-racing pace of the Huaorani during their hunt for dinner (tonight's menu: monkey) proved to be one of the more challenging tasks.

"Once you start chasing and hunting you really don't have time to dwell on the fact that all kinds of dangerous animals lurk in the forests," says Laude.

The Huaorani's superhuman physical abilities and communal spirit left a tremendous impression on Thornton. "These people are so admirable, strong, and utterly able to work in their rough surroundings," says Thornton. "Being with them was one of the most amazing experiences of my life."

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October 2004

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