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Jim of the Jungle

Jim Thornton, being painted with herbal dyes in preparation for a futile anteater hunt. Photo by Olivier Laude.

Jim Thornton is one of the few people about whom I get to say, "I knew him when..." I met Jim many years ago taking his magazine writing class at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. I'm pretty sure I never finished the main class assignment, but I do fondly remember finishing plenty of beers after class at Johnny's, where Jim held court.

Nowadays, instead of teaching, Jim does. You might see his features in such publications as Men's Journal, Details, Sports Illustrated, Self, and many more. For National Geographic Adventure, Jim has written Oddventure, a column that follows a simple formula -- send Jim into situations in which he's likely to be maimed and then watch the hilarity that ensues.

In one column ("Jungle Apprentice," Oct. 2004), Jim documented the weeks he and photographer Olivier Laude spent among the Huaorani tribe, deep in the Ecuadorean rainforest -- a group that until 40 years ago had never witnessed the blinding white of pale North American flesh.

Read an excerpt from "Jungle Apprentice"
View a gallery of photos from the trip.

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