To get the funds together to make this project happen, I threw a few wild ideas out there about a self powered Sea-Source-River journey. I was shocked when we actually got the money to make the project happen, so now I actually have to go ahead with this challenge!
The first 10days will be cycling from the coast, up the Andes through an area of the Cordillera Huayhuash that does not see much traffic. I have found some recent information that banditry is not a big issue in the region anymore, so that is a relief! I am getting pretty excited about this leg of the journey, it looks like it will be some stunning country, although I think the steepness and altitude will make it one of the most physically challenging things I have ever done. A tummy bug put me out a couple of weeks ago, so I didn’t quite do as much training as I had hoped… On my little test ride I quickly realised that paddling all year, doesn’t really prepare your thighs for the epic uphill slogs in Peru. Looking over the maps, there is an insane amount of options and routes to take; its a bit scary, because the chance of accidentally going up the wrong valley, or over the wrong pass is quite possible- my nav will need to be on its A-game. Roads and trails don’t exist on the map that is available for the area, so I have been scrutinising Google Maps images in order to locate where roads or donkey trails are, and drawing these on by hand. There is the possibility to go fully off the grid and mountain bike cross country once I get up into the highlands of the Huayhuash, not sure if I will take this option or not…It will depend how I am feeling, it would be stunning, but the challenge might be too much for me at this stage.
A few days after that will be spent hiking around the base of the Cordillera Huayhuash, scouting out the uppermost parts of the catchment, deciding where it will be possible to launch the kayaks from. I also promised some super generous donors that I would build cairns for them at the source of the Amazon. So building heaps of piles of rocks above 5000m is going to be… Fun.
After this, I need to interrupt my mission for a few days and find internet, as it is a key stage in the project (we need to sift through 50+ applications, and choose our volunteers who we will be working with for the next year).
Once initial selection is complete, my buddy Josh Fischer will be heading into the hills, when we will start paddling from the highest possible spot where we can float boats. After a couple of weeks floating down (and a couple of heinous portages), I will head back to Lima to complete selection of our ‘Remando Juntos’ team. All in all, its going to be a pretty full on month of October.
After that I am pretty keen get back to Chile for the creeking season, yeoooow!
Check out the Paddling with Purpose facebook page to stay up to date with the journey, I might be able to put a couple of photos up more regularly as I travel.