Peru, the Rio Marañon. Day 18, 10/16/15

Our last night’s camp, #17, was in a backwater on a mostly muddy beach, to the upstream side of the Rio Llanten.

60. Camp#17 Llanten Oct152015_9381

Leaving  Camp #17, at the Rio Llanten

Llanten Rapid, III-IV

Llanten Rapid, III-IV

62. Waterfall Oct152015_9004

Waterfall on river-right

Late in the morning, we arrive at Samosierra Rapid, Class III-IV, at K. 320. Like some rapids upstream (e.g. Shapalmonte), this rapid started with a long stretch of randomly scattered boulders, followed by a drop and a turn to the right against a cliff.

70. Samosierra Oct162015_8979

Pedro shows the way

Pedro moves left, and will have to pass to the side of the tree

He moves left, and will have to pass to the right side of the tree

There's actually more room to the side of the tree than appeared to be the case

No problem!

77.5 Britt&KymOct162015_8988

Britt (with tie) and Kym, scouting

78. Samosierra Oct152015_9394

We start in to Samosierra …


and continue

We pass the tree ...

We pass the tree …

and continue

and continue

84. Samosierra Oct152015_9399

Two kids watch us from the left shore

We approach the drop

We approach the bouldery drop (which appears as a horizon line, with the cliff behind)

The drop

The drop

Lower Samosierra

Lower Samosierra

Lower Samosierra

Lower Samosierra

Lower Samosierra

Lower Samosierra. Big waves!

Here, Kark, in his packraft, succewssfully runs through those waves

Karl, in his packraft, survives those waves!


Flowering cactus (Kathy Miller photo)

The Rio Pusac

The Rio Pusac, on river-right

We arrive at the Rio Pusac, which enters from the east.  Here, a road from the downstream town of Chacanto passes close to the river, before turning up the Rio Pusac valley. The Rio Marañon is bridged at Chacanto (Balsas), and this is where the Central Grand Canyon of the Rio Marañon stretch ends, to be followed by the Lower Grand Canyon stretch. The bridge provides a link between the cities of Cajamarca to the west and Chachapoyas to the east. The closest town to the west is Celendin, and the closest to the east is Leimebamba, both thousands of feet above the river. In a sidebar entitled: “The Road to Chachapoyas: Two the Hard Way” the Lonely Planet guide discusses the two routes to Chachapoyas. Of the route from Cajamarca to Chachapoyas via the bridge at Chacanto (Balsas), they ask: ” … do you have the heart, patience and nerves of steel to brave the astonishingly scenic but hopelessly nerve-wracking mountain route via Celendin and Leimebamba?”


Balsas can be seen on the above map, along with the cities of Trujillo, Cajamarca, Celendin and Chachapoyas that are discussed in the text (click on the map to enlarge)

Pedro had been on the phone again, arranging for a replacement raft (to replace CJ’s “three-quarter” raft) to be shipped to us from Trujillo, just as he had arranged for the replacement cataraft to be shipped to us earlier. He had also arranged for a taxi to pick us (the participants) up and drive us the 10 kilometers to Chacanto. There, we would split up for two nights. 5 of us (our group of 4 and Karl) would stay with the taxi and head up to Celendin, while Nate, Kym and Artie would take a bus in the opposite direction, first to Leimebamba, and then on to the ruins at Kuelap. Our group of four took a pass on this option, since we intended to visit Kuelap after the river trip. We preferred the R&R that Celendin would provide. We forded the Rio Pusac and piled into the taxi, while Pedro, Barba and Zacarias would get the rafts down to Chacanto. It was a good plan!

The bridge at Chacanto is at an elevation of 2814′, while the high point on the road to Celendin is 8809′, for a climb of 5995′. The trip takes one hour and forty minutes, and we arrived at the Hotel Villa Madrid in Celendin well after dark. Had Kathy and I brought clothing suitable for the now chilly temperatures we encountered in Celendin (at an altitude of 8600′)? Of course not! Whatever … our room was very nice, the hotel had an attached restaurant and it was a few steps from the Plaza. And behind the front desk, what should we encounter but a Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle (last seen many kilometers upstream), but in this case, stuffed.

Black-chested Buzzard Eagle

Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, behind the front desk at the Hotel Villa Madrid

Here is the link to the following post:


About Evensteven

I am a photographer and author, and live in Embudo, New Mexico, alongside the Rio Grande. I have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: The Grand: I have also published six additional iBooks: 1. The Salt River: 2. Coyote Buttes: 3. Four Cornered, the Land: 4. Four Cornered, The Rivers: 5. Rio Marañon: 6. Rio Grande:
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