Peru, the Rio Marañon. Day 28, 10/26/15

1. Camp#27Beach Oct252015_8652

Camp #27 beach, upstream view

3. SocialFlycatcher Oct252015_8655

Social flycatcher, on a tree with odd-looking fruit

5. SlickinsidesSurfaceOct252015_8657

The yellow surface of the rock seen here is an example of a “slickinsides”, which Wikipedia defines as: ” … a smoothly polished surface caused by frictional movement between rocks along the two sides of a fault.”

6. Bridge Oct252015_8658

The bridge at La Libertad

7. RipplemarksOct252015_8659

Below the bridge, ripplemarks in limestone. Limestone is formed from sea sediments. Ripplemarks are either the casts of ripples in the sediments, or the ripples themselves.

8. House Oct252015_8660

House in La Libertad

9. Day#28 CloudsOct252015_8662

Clouds and rain in the canyon. The vegetation found in the upper elevations, to either side of the river canyon, is called “cloud forest”.

12. RapidOct252015_9219

The larger volume of the river causes bigger waves to form …

13. Rapid Oct252015_9220

such as this swell

17. Yellow-rumpedCacique&NestsOct252015_8663

Yellow-rumped cacique nests, with one bird visible in the upper left corner of the photo.

Sign, approaching El Muyo

Sign, approaching El Muyo


In the large eddy at El Muyo

21. LaSelvaOct252015_8664

The luxuriant rain forest

22. ElMuyoPenstockOct252015_8538

View back upstream to the penstock that delivers water to the El Muyo generating plant. This form of small-scale hydroelectric generation is far more desirable that the building of “megadams”.

23. Day#28 Oct252015_8539

Dense rain forest at about 12 miles into the canyon

24. KayakersDay#28 Oct252015_8540

The kayakers, and more whitewater ahead

29. ZacariasOct252015_9235

Zacarias at the oars

30. Kath&MeOct252015_9239

Selfie – Kathy and me. And we’re giving a local guy a lift.

We arrive at the Awajun village of Tutumberos, at K. 613 of our trip. This part of the Amazonian rain forest and Rio Marañon is the land of the Awajun tribe, of which Zacarias is a member. He is also an official of his village, Montenegro, which is located downstream. The Awajun are very concerned about the building of megadams on the river. Zacarias is our interface with the Awajun communities, who are suspicious of outsiders and their motives.

31. Day#28Tutumberos

Our group heads uphill to the village of Tutumberos, to have a meeting and lunch. I stay with the boats.

32. Day#28Tutumberos Oct262015_8542

One of the kids that hang out with me

35. KidsDay#28Tutumberos Oct262015_8543

More of the kids.

Our next stop was the village of Montenegro, where Zacarias’ folks lived. Zacarias was very anxious that I visit his father, probably because I was the elder on the river trip. His father and I were of the same age – 75 years. He had also mentioned to me a number of times before that he intended to present me with a ceremonial “lance”. I was never able to ascertain what I represented to Zacarias – a possible political representative of my “people” in the US, an esteemed friend, a rich person that might give him money or something else? It was also the case that Zacarias was carrying a bullet in his body. He had been in a demonstration, and was shot by the police. He had let us know that he was hoping to raise money for an operation to remove the bullet.

36. Day#28 MontenegroStreram Oct262015_8544

As we walked uphill to the village, I was delivered this idyllic vision of people living in a state of nature.

About the caption to the above photo: debate still rages amongst anthropologists and other social scientists over Rousseau’s notion of the “Noble Savage”. It is a notion that will not go away, despite efforts to show that modern life is less bloody than pre-civilized life. It seems that many social scientists find it necessary to defend modern life. Perhaps they fear being called, themselves, “romantics” and undisciplined as academics? But I, also trained as an academic, come down with Rousseau. Let me state my view as candidly as possible: We have fucked up our only home. The invention of “civilization”, 10,000 short years ago, led directly to the mess we are in now. The products of agriculture were the first wealth, which wealth got immediately concentrated in the hands of the most greedy and ruthless individuals in society. Class society – autocratic rulers and impoverished masses – became the norm. This has remained the case from the beginning (except perhaps for the recent and short-lived phenomenon of a “middle class”) to the present day. The pursuit of wealth remains the dominant force in the world, despite clear evidence that the party may soon be over. In this country, over half of our elected representatives deny the findings of science  as they concern climate change, because those findings indicate the need to retool the economy and perhaps curtail the profit motive. Unbelievable as it may seem, the Republican Party, practically to the man, sticks it’s collective head in the sand while the earth undeniably heats up. Pre-civilized life, no matter what you may say against it, was infinitely more noble than what has replaced it. No wonder that I was struck so forcibly by the scene (above photo) before me.

40. Z, Mom&MeDay#28 Montenegro Oct262015_8546

Zacarias and his mother. Zacarias is presenting me with the ceremonial lance, beads and a “crown”, decorated with feathers of the Cock of the Rock, the national bird of Peru.

41. MePopZ&Mom Day#28 Montenegro Oct262015_8554

Here I am, an honorary “Apu” (Chief), with lance, beads and crown. To my right are: Dad, Zacarias and Mom.

Day#28 Montenegro Oct262015_8556

Nate, with pet parakeets

Day#28 Zacarias&DrumMontenegro Oct262015_8559

Zacarias and wooden drum

Then we continued downstream, to our last campsite on the river.


We gave these girls a lift. Zacarias is at the oars (Kathy Hammerlee Miller photo).

Rainforest Oct262015_8560


Rainforest Oct262015_8561


Rock Oct262015_8567

Sculpted boulder

Camp#28 TentsOct262015_8568

Camp #28 was on an island, a short ways upstream from the take-out.

It started, again, to rain (it’s the rainforest, after all) and we put up the tarp. We were then joined by kids (and a few adults) from both sides of the river, who are masters at the art of inner tube rafting. Zacarias was the master of ceremonies, giving out treats from our supply of left-over food.


Under the tarp, with Zacarias and the kids (Kathy Hammerlee Miller photo)

Tomorrow (Day 29) we would leave the river, drive back upstream (and into the Cumba Valley once more), where we would spend the night in Bagua Chica:



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:
This entry was posted in Birding, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s