Chagual. We had breakfast at the same restaurant as the evening before, and Pedro went off to pick-up the new arrivals – Kym and Artie – and some supplies. We then re-packed the boats and shoved off in mid-afternoon, intending to go only a short ways downstream.
We floated to the mouth of the Q. Hualango, where a dirtied stream entered. We had arrived at the Vijus gold-mining district, which included the Q.Hualango. Ore trucks were coming and going. We camped just downstream.
It was a short distance into Vijus, a good-sized town built around gold mining, located on river-right. We pulled up to a cobble shoreline and everyone but myself walked into town. It was a Sunday, and lots of folks were out strolling along the river. Of course, lots of kids came around, and some hung out with me for the entire time we were there. People stopped, one guy gave me an orange and one lady in particular took an interest in our trip. She could speak some English, and left to get her husband and daughter. Her husband was a mining engineer, working his own holdings, who spent most of the year at the mine, while she and her daughter spent summers in Lima. They were very cordial, and her husband gave me a souvenir of a piece of quartz ore speckled with gold.
Meanwhile, our group was having a interesting time in town.
The group visited the pharmacy and returned with drugs: hydrocortisone itch cream, fungus cream and Cipro. The last was to combat diarrhea, which affected everyone at one point or another. The Cipro knocked-it out with one dose. “Another Cipro success story!”, I would remark.
We again got underway, passing the big mine below town. We continued through unremarkable scenery and an absence of whitewater for about 15 kilometers, until arriving at the Cañon Asconta. There, we camped on a large gravel bar on river-right, at K. 242. The wind howled that night, blowing fine sand through the mosquito netting of our tent, which collected on us. This became a common occurrence.
Day 14 would bring us to our first (!) lay-over camp. Because of the unusually low-water that we were experiencing, we were traveling much slower than usual, thus having lost two lay-overs so far. Here is the link to the following post: