Updated 18 Aug 2017
Numbers may vary depending on who's telling the story.
From day one you hear of "The Jungle" on Mondays during Flight Training. (Yes... a shameless plug) from Chuck, Charlie or one of the other instructors. Sometimes you hear it mentioned in conversations... I have a time or two heard it from behind me while flying "Hey, you're pretty far out over the jungle." We recently had a member lose a 6' red and beige delta plane on final approach. 3 weeks later he found it... yards away from the end of the runway... As for myself, when I was a little kid you'd hear about the "Cucuy" (Koo-Kueee) in Spanish... "If you don't eat your supper" or "if you don't go to sleep"..."The Cucuy will come and get you..." Yes... we all had a "Boogieman" growing up... Now as a fifty something year old, he's back... He's just called "The Jungle" now. GREAT! I finally get into a hobby I am loving and it comes with a Cucuy.
You can see it off in the distance,,, trees and shrubs maybe 10-15 feet high. Not much consequence or very menacing from the airfield's point of view. Until that day when it's YOUR turn to be the one to go on a quest. You go down a dirt road that goes along the perimeter of the field. Easy Cheezy, no problem... Then you start down into the jungle.. and you trudge and shove and step over and under vines and branches and shrubs and slide and trip and brush against some weeds who's sole purpose seems to be just to grow sharp spikes for no danged reason... (FYI... you're an UGLY plant... nobody is going to steal you... you don't need all that protection)... ...then you realize you've only gone 5 feet... Looking up at the 10-15 foot trees you realize you are just seeing the tops of 50-80 foot trees.
I did find a plane.. kind of. At least the most intact one of several carcasses I found. I still don't know how I saw it... I happened to look up and the 'red' color caught my eye.. of course... it had to be towards the TOP of a tree. 40-50 feet away... straight up. It was destined to live out it's days as a Christmas Ornament. For those of you old enough to remember the original black & white version of "The Fly" and can still hear in your heads "Help me.... Helllllp meeeeee"... that's what I heard from that poor plane.
I spent about 8 hot sweaty bug bitten hours looking for my lost Weekender.... (OK. I was told it was closer to 1 1/2) I found a small part of a wing with a number. I found an occasional piece of Mylar. I found an aged Styrofoam winged camera drone.
I found what was left of a glider wing. No fuselage or any other parts. The Jungle has snagged many planes over the years giving little in return. Not to mention the Jungle Scavengers. It seems receivers. servos, cameras are often gone when planes are sometimes found. It's bad enough the Jungle lives... there are parasites within it as well.
I will be back next weekend to look for my plane. What makes it especially sentimental is that one of the club members gifted me the plane. It was very special to me. As was the T-28 I crashed the day before... (NOT a good weekend!) At least the T-28 is repairable. That is one of the main reasons I'll be out there again. Had it been a purchased plane it would of just been pride and money... this one is more valuable to me.
So, when you hear about the 'Cucuy' or the 'Boogieman' or the 'Llorona'...
or worse... the real one... "The Jungle"... listen to the senior club members...
(And now... one very junior one) they all know how real the Jungle really is and there's a reason for their occasional calls for you to stay clear of the jungle.
It eats planes, quads, gliders and if it spits them out... it ain't pretty.
RECOMMENDED GEAR & TIPS!
Thick Coveralls w/ long sleeves
Duct Tape (Around ankles and wrists)
Ice water/Gatorade (as much as you can carry!)
Fishing line - branch cutter?
Listen for the sounds of the Freeway to orient yourself - YES, it is that thick.
I found 2 planes. Hard as hell to take out through the vines. Maybe take a sack of some kind to put plane in to move through the growth.