In this region, Walker and Arima visited the Kayapó, an indigenous group, and received a celebrity's welcome. At first, the Kayapo thought Walker was James Cameron, director of Avatar.
"Cameron had a statement that the Kayapó represented the best of native peoples, and that they had been an inspiration to him in his film ," explained Walker.
"It's very difficult to have an opportunity to encounter this particular tribe or any tribe now in the Amazon given there's been a lot of abuse since colonial times and before," Walker said.
"The Kayapó were very helpful because a lot of the logging that had occurred in the region occurred in their historic territories," he said.
Walker and Arima bid farewell to the Kayapó and drove further west. In a swampy region near Jacareacanga, they encounter a myriad of blue macaws.
"It was literally a macaw city. They had not seen many human beings so they started playing with us–they would fly and buzz us and they'd be literally 10 feet overhead," said Walker.
Trudging ever westward, the road-tripping researchers stumbled into a clandestine goldmine.
Walker found that nearly 60 percent of the miners suffered from malaria. "There's every imaginable form of commodity and human degradation. It was a rough place," he said.
Continuing on further west, Walker and Arima hit a waterlogged and swampy area where the only travelers on the road were maintenance crews. Afraid of jaguars, they slept nights in their car with the windows rolled up.
In the end, Walker never managed to interview any illegal loggers, but he hopes to return and try again. Hearing why illegal loggers do what they do in their own words, could help Walker and others understand their motives and find alternatives.