Made it to Cusco! No mean feat considering I am lugging around full set of camping gear, bicycle and kayak…Absolutely loving close proximity to fresh air, mountains & rivers. The difference I feel is incredible compared to last month spent in a grey concrete jungle is enormous. So much more clarity and motivation. The trip here was 22 hours on the bus, aside from not quite enough knee space, all was good. The hardest part of the journey is definitely getting to the bus terminal itself. Normally taxis will slow down, beep and ask you if you want a ride, even when you really don’t need one. However, everything changes when you have a tonne of oversized gear. A number of drivers flatly refused, until I found one friendly bloke who was up for the challenge of fitting it all in.
Cusco is a great town, its nice to be able to jump on my bike and be up in the mountains within minutes, cruising above the town & exploring Incan ruins. Even the days where I have a bunch of work to do (project is coming along really well, almost ready to launch our campaign to find the team for next year!), I can easily escape, refresh and recharge. I’m staying at the cyclist hostel, Estrellita, so its super nice to be surrounded by adventurous people who are all on their own cool journeys.
Most are cycling for months or years on end, through South America, through the Andes.
There are also plenty of paddlers in town, so its easy to jump on the rivers. I just finished paddling the Apurimac River (commercially rafted section), its nice that I can tag along with the commercial 3 day raft trips. The guys are happy to have another competent kayaker on board, in return I get free transport and food. Offers of more work are there, but I’m more excited to go paddle the other sections of the river. It was lucky I tagged along on the trip I did. On the morning of the second day one of the raft guides dislocated his shoulder. First to his aid, I was glad it had already popped back in (note to self – refreshing first aid course is super important!), I was able to strap it with tape and give him a couple of ibuprofen. Pretty glad I had my first aid kit on board, there’s always a little voice saying ‘you don’t need it this trip’, but pretty glad I have so far ignored that voice and take it everywhere.
This afternoon I’m heading out with new friends Sandra & Julio to paddle Abismo Canyon, Rio Apurimac. The tag line of the Apurimac is ‘there’s Siphons in this rapid, Cuidado’; pretty much every rapid is full of pretty hairy dangerous spots you want to avoid. A 5+ day, committing solid class V section, it sounds pretty full on from what I have read, once you are in the canyon you had better make it out the other side, cos there wont be many other options to get out. The hidden, inaccessible riverside version of Machu Pichu should be a very cool side trip though. I wasn’t looking forward to forking out hundreds of dollars to visit the real Machu Pichu with thousands of other toursists, so this should be a much cooler alternative.
It’s all good practice though, getting ready for a HUGE adventure in October. Cycling up the Cordillera Huayhuash, Hiking up as high as we can and then launching from somewhere above 4000m, the kayaking the Upper upper Marañón for a couple of weeks. Its going to be challenging, and any fitness advantages I can get now will help massively.
Once I get back from Abismo next week, our media campaign should be ready to go. With web page created on the Conservamos por Naturaleza website. I have been busy this week creating a short video, as well as editing logos onto a heap of my photos- all this should appear on their facebook page in the next month, which will reach a huge target audience. Anyways, ill give you a proper update next week once were ready to go!