Last rainforests and jungles of the world: Earth’s final frontiers

Happy Earth Day, Adrenalists. For 43 years, this global holiday has been held to celebrate our natural planet and draw attention to many of the threats facing our environment. As climate change concerns have grown, so has support for the holiday, with over 1 billion people expected to participate in 192 countries this year.

We can thank Earth’s natural landscapes for fueling adrenaline-infused exploration, adventure, and dozens of sports from climbing to kayaking. This week, we’ll be honoring the planet with our Earth Week series, starting with today’s look at some of the last rainforests and jungles in the world. Read at the Adrenalist..

Ed Stafford walks the Amazon

When the trustees of the Transglobe Expedition Trust heard of Ed Stafford’s planned stab at walking the length of the Amazon, they asked some authorities on the Amazon for their view. The reply came back – “impossible”.

But in April 2008, the British ex-soldier set off on a Jungle Marathon to become the first man ever to walk the Amazon’s whole length. He started on the Pacific coast of Peru and crossed the Andes mountain range to find the official source of the river.

His successful 859-day trek took him through parts of Colombia and right across Brazil — involving savage animals, machete-armed locals and the reality of coping with injuries, fierce weather and his own fear. Read more at the Adrenalist..

Jungle marathon

Meet Ed Stafford.

His mammoth Amazon trek may just merit comparison with the Antarctic odyssey made by another Brit, Captain Scott.

Stafford, who was born in 1975, began his Amazon expedition on April 2, 2008, at the source of the Amazon, in Camana, Peru, accompanied by his guide, Gadiel “Cho” Sanchez Rivera. He was partly driven by an urge to boost awareness of creeping destruction of the Amazon rainforest. He also just wanted to experience an epic adventure.

Armed with a machete and tenacity boosted by fear of embarrassing failure, Stafford duly marched along the river, which runs 4,200 miles eastward before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. Quite a slog.

But on August 9, 2010, Stafford completed his mission despite spectacular tribulation. Find out what the crew-cut hard-charger endured before his eventual emergence on a Brazilian beach. Read more at the Adrenalist..

Potholes and Piranhas: In search of a lost Amazon tribe

Picture a murky world of piranhas, fire ants, and vipers. Add jaguars and an elusive, unpredictable tribe that protects its interests with poison arrows. Factor in malaria, seesawing temperatures – baking days, icy nights – and the risk of starvation.

Enter National Geographic explorer Scott Wallace. In 2002, Wallace joined a 34-man Amazon expedition led by pro-Indian activist Sydney Possuelo: a fiery Brazilian with “a hawk-like beak, balding head, and thick auburn beard”, Wallace recounts in his new travelogue, The Unconquered. Read more at the Adrenalist

Rumble in the jungle — whitewater Thailand

It’s hard to have a conversation as we bounce up and down on the red track towards the cabin that looms above the Maetang River, the site of northern Thailand’s fastest, most famous white-water stretch.

But that’s not important, as I have already got to know my rafting companions, a true-blue Aussie couple called Mike and Kath.

While we rattle around, Kath, who has one arm around her husband, apologises for being squeezed so tight against me. The intimacy is nothing compared with what will unfold under pressure, crammed in a dinghy shooting cascades. I have seen strangers lurch from their perches and land with their heads in each other’s laps. And I’ve heard about a girl who was catapulted from an inflatable on this very river downstream to her death. Read more at Thailand’s Nation newspaper…