Deep within the canyons of Peru

It has been a long time dream to go to Peru. However, as it turned out Ron and myself only could find the time to go just as our friends were busy hucking waterfalls in Mexico, or wrapping up the World Championships in rafting in Costa Rica. A tad sad for this fact, we landed in Lima, mid-day, a few weeks back.


Not two days later were we heading to the first river of choice, the almighty rio Paucartambo. Getting up at 04.30 AM to catch the bus, we stumbled into the busy little town of Paucartambo at ten in the morning. With crowds of curious kids watching our gear we got our last taste of civilization in form of coffee, before the entire town waved us farewell as we put on. Ahead of us was no less than 250 kms of riverbed, with about 247 km of whitewater. The goal: The Amazon jungle. Starting at about 2500 meters above sealevel, we would end the trip at about 450 meters…



The days passed by all too quickly. We would rise with the birds at 05.00 AM, drink coffee, enjoy the mornings, the surroundings and eachothers company til 08.30 on the dot, when tent, sleepingbags, food and equipment was packed in the kayaks. Then we would paddle till about 15.00 or 16.00, until we found another amazing campspot. Two hours later, as dark descended, we would be in bed, firmly asleep by 19.00 PM.

Having come straight from the Oktoberfest mayhem in Munich, where I work as a waitress every year, I was in a state of awe as we paddled our way through the immensly deep canyons of the Paucartambo. There were just so much whitewater! The Orange canyon with its amazingly colored rocks, blocked rapids and eerie atmosphere was impressive, and by far the most remote experience of the trip. Day four saw us encounter the last challenging canyon with amazing, big water rapids, the last not being portageable, but too much fun to run. We ran rapids that could have been found on the middle Oetz, there were sneak lines, big lines, small drops, bigger ones, and above everything, an amazing amount of stacked class four with no flatwater. For days. Some times I felt like I had just gotten on the whitewater train, and was steering my kayak down these amazing read-n-run boulderchocked rapids for hours and hours, lost in the automatic movements of avoiding one pour-over, then the next one, then the next rock, then boofing one hole, then another etc etc etc..


A landslide provided an extra amount of adrenaline towards the end of the trip. The mud had blocked the riverbed, and created a steep, intense and muddy rapid. The real challenge laid in crossing the fresh mud, as we both sank threateningly deep as we tried to cross the mud-field of about 250 meters width.

Finally reaching the confluence with the rio Urubamba, we could not agree on which method to use to try and get back to civilization. Hitch a ride on the newly created road on the other side of the Urubamba (though there was no traffick), or stay by the riverbed till we could get a ride in a local lancha. (a 15 meter long open canoe with an engine that would carry the natives up the river to the small jungle town of Ivochote) The local farmer at take-out, while giving me a great tour of his property, told us there were hardly any lanchas running these days..Hence, we dragged boats up to the road, sat there for a while and missed the one lancha that did go by. A bit grudgy we hauled our boats back down to the river, eventually successful in flagging down the next one that went by a few hours later.

The trip took us 8 days in total, and was one of the most amazing trips I have ever done. If you go to Peru, it is more than a must, as this river is a worldwide classic.