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Boonie Stomping

November 17, 2010

I was on Guam last week, and over the weekend I hooked up with a group called the Boonie Stompers.  They go hiking every Saturday, and they visit some really cool locations off the beaten path (actually it is not very hard to get off the beaten path on Guam – wherever you are, the boonies are never far away, which is what makes it a great place for outdoor exploring).  On this particular occasion, they hiked Agfayan Falls in the southeastern part of the island  (You can read about this hike and all the others scheduled for November at their site HERE.) 

First falls encountered on Agfayan River, Guam

Cane Spider (Heteropoda venatoria?)

Lynx spider (Oxyopes sp.?)

A second waterfall area on Agfayan River

Hiking up Agfaya River.

A third waterfall area on Agfaya River.

Leaving Agfayan River.

Unfortunately I didn’t have my own rental car on this trip, so I had a coworker drop me off at the Chamorro Village with hopes that I would be able to catch a ride with someone to the trailhead.  It was a little embarrasing when, after everyone (approx. 30-35 folks) was assembled and the brief on the day’s hike had been completed, the leader asked if anyone could give me a ride, and no one volunteered.  I guess it would be a little wierd to give a complete stranger a ride to a remote trailhead, so I don’t really blame anyone, but I felt a little awkward.  The leader actually ended up giving me a ride in his vehicle, which ended up being great because he turned out to be the manager for the Cultural and Natural Resources on Andersen Air Force Base, so we had a lot to talk about.  He was super nice and had an interesting perspective on the military on Guam since he is a long time resident and considers Guam his home. 

The first part of the hike traversed some grassy hills and then slowly descended down to the Agfayan River.   There were some falls at the first point where we encountered the river, but there were also a few more falls as we hiked upstream, so I wasn’t  exactly sure which of them was the “Agfayan Falls.”  At the first falls, we took a long break and everyone swam.  Some folks were sliding down the falls into a small plunge pool, and it looked like a lot of fun.

I had my camera, so I was off looking for insects and spiders to photograph.  This drew a few strange looks from the boonie stompers, but that was really the main reason I went on the hike – to look for insects.  So while everyone else was frolicking, I was nerdily poking around the riparian zone with a big camera dangling around my neck.  Unfortunately, becuase the camera and lens had been in my ice-cold hotel room for a few days prior, there was a lot of condensation inside the lens and camera body, and it was screwing up my pictures.  In particular I was unable to get a good shot of a dragonfly (which I’m pretty sure was Diplacodes bipunctata)  that was buzzing around.  I got a couple of decent spider pics though.  Now that I’m looking at the images, the cane spider’s right legs look slightly deformed – perhaps there was something not quite right with this spider. 

We hiked up the river, which was a lot of fun and very refreshing.  The river was waist deep in some places, and ever deeper in various spots where the water had formed pits in the rocky substrate.  Some of these spots were deep enough such that some of the folks were doing cannon balls into them.  Although I wasn’t very social with anyone in particular, I felt like by the end of the hike I was a little more accepted.  A couple of people actually offered to give me a ride back to the hotel.  While I didn’t see any particularly interesting insects or spiders, I still had a great time and was treated to some great scenery.
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