Rivers abound, too, and as I've been following an out-of-service rail line, many bridges have been washed away. On the first that I encountered, a steel trestle lay on its side in the water far below the sheered rails covered in jungle grasses. I contemplated the alternatives, backtracking is always the very last option, and began to think that the dreaded highway would be the better camino here. But, using my hiking sticks as machetes, I plunged into the thick with determination and whacked my way down the steep slope (a prime location for seeing snakes) to the water's edge and judged it passable if I could manage to stay on the big submerged rocks, otherwise it would be too deep for me and my backpack. The trestle itself was more of a rusted danger than serviceable avenue. Three rocks into the wide river and I realized I needed to rethink the method. The clear and refreshingly cool water was running too swiftly to stand on a rock even with the water there up to my knees. Back to the shore, I took a page from Huck Finn and constructed a little raft from broken bamboo and other branches lashed together with the vines conveniently hanging from high tree tops awaiting such a use. How wonderful it was to doff the boots and socks and outer clothes and swim and lunge my way across the river, very much in over my head, tethered to my bobbing little raft. I beached the raft on the far side and swam for another 15 minutes, rump-bumping through the whitewater. Adventures like these are so fun to relate after the fact, but at the time, quite alone in the jungle, quite far from any village or vaquero or road, there was a bit of apprehension, to be sure. With the success, it turned out to be a great way to beat the heat even for short breaks. I've crossed many rivers each day, but now that I've seen the croc, I'm a bit more apprehensive again. Prudence.
Twice in a week I've heard of another pilgrim! An Italian on pilgrimage from somewhere north of Mexico to Brazil. He passed through some months ago. He's got a credenzial like I do, but pulls along some type of little handcart instead of a backpack. I'm curious to know more about him, but we've so far only passed two places in common - Ciudad Hidalgo and Pijijiapan. How exciting - in all this distance from Buenos Aires, I haven't heard of any other pilgrims. Buen Camino, Pelegrino Italiano!
I've got a route pretty well worked out to Oaxaca, and based on distance, it will take 12 days more to reach the goal. August 10th, looks like it.