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Dodging death and danger, the pair finally enter 'civilization'

By Ed Stafford, Special to CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ed and Cho spend last day in forest before entering 'civilization'
  • Stafford: 'I will dream about this place for the rest of my life'
  • The pair are grateful to the hospitality of the locals
  • They hope to reach the end of the Amazon on August 9

Editor's Note: Ed Stafford, 34, from Leicestershire, central England, has been walking the length Amazon River since April 2, 2008, to raise awareness of the region. He began his trek at the source of the river in Peru, encountering pit vipers, electric eels, anaconda, mosquitoes and scorpions. He was joined in July 2008 by Gadiel "Cho" Sanchez Rivera. The pair are due to reach the shores of the Atlantic on August 9. During his trek Ed has blogged using a laptop and a satellite internet link. You can follow his journey on the Walking the Amazon website. In his third piece for CNN he describes walking back into civilization.

(CNN) -- As my tweet reported in real time on the 30th July - Cho and I have been spat out of the jungle for the very last time.

From here on in, we'll be walking through civilization and on to journey's end; Maruda; 9th August 2010.

For Cho and I, the jungle has been a place of adventure and it's also been our normality -- it's been our 'home' for so long now.

Most people I speak to via the internet say they could do a couple of days in the fetid heat, worrying about the jaguars, avoiding the pit vipers and daily trying to sleep in a place that can be as noisy as a nightclub at night, but they can't imagine doing 850 days.

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Amazon trek
RELATED TOPICS
  • Amazon Rain Forest
  • Brazil
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The reality is; this has become our home and although we have dodged death on many occasions and faced starvation, we've also walked through community after community and found warmth and kindness that I doubt I'll ever experience again.

When we return home, Cho and I will remember all the people who've given us a bed for the night, and a hot meal, without need of anything in return. I will dream about this place for the rest of my life.

Our final day in the jungle started mutely at 5am when I silently fanned the fire embers into life and boiled rice in the dark. As the gloom lifted we broke camp and tried to make some headway down the disused power line.

To concisely explain - the power line used to supply the town of Oeiras with electricity but many of the posts have since toppled and the cables now lie knotted in vines. Light has flooded into the linear space in the years of abandonment to form a 30-foot wide, 30-foot high, 50 mile long bramble bush.

The forest to the side was razor grass one minute, dense bamboo the next. We weaved between the two searching for the fastest escape.

Read Ed Stafford's account of being cut to ribbons by razor grass

For most of the day we were aware of a river off to our left and so we encountered local people regularly. At 9:30 we passed a house that gave us the sunny news that the bridge that we'd been aiming for (that marks the start of civilization) was only an hour away. We naively allowed our spirits to soar and our skepticism to doze.

After two disillusioned hours a kind man, fixing a dugout canoe, said that we'd be there in half an hour. A further hour later a short round lady said exactly the same thing.

At just before 2pm we sighted the wrecked wooden bridge and scaled the high, non-ramped, buttress end to walk across into the land of Generation 4 iPhones and two-finger scrolling.

Well, more like horses and carts for another 24 hours but the sprawling metropolis that is Belem looms ahead - an unavoidable finish to our journey.

Cho and I are not complaining however - we've had our share of rainforest for now - and the temptations of civilization are most welcome.

Part of complete coverage on
Introducing Ed and Cho
Ed Stafford has been walking the length of the Amazon River since April 2008.
Trials along the way
With eleven days to go things are already beginning to change for Cho and I.
Re-entering civilisation
Ed Stafford and and Gadiel "Cho" Sanchez Rivera finally enter civilization.
Video diary part 1
British adventurer Ed Stafford shares the medical issues he encounters while walking the Amazon.
Video diary part 2
British explorer Ed Stafford shares video from his journey of walking the Amazon.
Video diary part 3
The end is near for British explorer Ed Stafford on his two-year journey across the entire Amazon River.
Video diary part 4
British explorer Ed Stafford discusses the charities he's raising money for as he walks the length of the Amazon River.
Video diary part 5
British explorer Ed Stafford discusses the technology he uses to stay in touch and what he does for fun in the Amazon.
 
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