On the morning of Oct. 27, 2015 (Day 29), we had hardly a quarter-mile to go to the take-out, on river right at K. 619. We had done 385 miles on the Rio Marañon. But the original itinerary had us finishing at the town of Imacita, at K. 668, for a trip of 415 miles. What had caused this change? Well … sometime earlier, our Trip Leader, Pedro, had been informed that a prior trip had experienced difficulties with some of the Awajun villages downstream of today’s take-out. It had to do either with suspicion of our allegiances (“Are you really who you say you are, or are you agents of the dam builders?”) or with money payments that had been made to the villages for the right of passage (“You may have payed so and so, but you have to pay us as well”). True, by taking out at Montenegro we were going to miss some of the best and biggest rapids on the river, but we paying customers were willing to end the trip there, to avoid the potential for unpleasantness should we continue downstream.
We drove back upstream, and then east, to the city of Bagua Chica (#4, upper left, on map below), which is located in the tributary Rio Utcubamba valley.
SierraRios has an open-air warehouse of sorts there, which we would visit the next day. First, we were taken to the Hotel Antares, where we got rooms and cleaned-up, followed by dinner at Willy’s. The next day was set aside for the gear clean-up, which did, indeed, take most of the day. Lots of stuff had to be washed and hung-up to dry. Then, another dinner at Willy’s, another night at the Antares, and back to the warehouse in the AM to put away the now dried gear. This took us to Oct. 29. We had reservations at the Gocta Andes Lodge for that night, and hired a taxi to get us there. Subsequent posts will be devoted to the waterfall at Gocta, the ruins at Kuelap, the hummingbirds at Huembo, the hummingbirds and orchids at Waqanki and the jungle wildlife and scenery at the PumaRinri Lodge:
And, lastly …
The Future of the Rio Marañon
In the US, eco-activists do not ordinarily fear for their lives. In Peru, they do. The murder of eco-activists in South America has become commonplace, and Peru funds itself high in the rankings as regards this unfortunate practice. Here is a news report on such a murder.
“MURDERER OF HITLER ROJAS IS FOUND AND CONVICTED IN CELENDIN
Alejandro Rodriguez Rojas, the murderer of Hitler Rojas (environmental activist and defender of the Maranon River), was sentenced December 30, 2015 to nine months of detention in Celendin, Cajamarca, Peru
Hitler Ananias Rojas Gonzales (34 years) was killed in the village Yagen district of Cortegana, Cajamarca region, Peru, on Monday, December 28, 2015. Rojas was president of the peasant patrols, Vice Defense Front and was recently elected Mayor of the Town Center Yagen.
Rojas was a recognized defender of the Marañon river and opposition to the construction of the dam Chadin II Brazilian company Odebrecht. The implementation of this project will require the displacement of thousands of people living near the river banks, as large tracts of land would be flooded.”
Given news such as the above, the outlook for preventing the damming of the Rio Marañon is not good. Sad to say, Big Money is not easily thwarted in that part of the world. What can we do to help? This series of blog posts on our Marañon trip is my initial effort to create greater awareness of the Rio Marañon and the threats it faces. You can share these posts to help broaden that awareness. You can run the Rio Marañon with SierraRios, and then find your own way to mobilize support. And, should worse eventually come to worse, you can run the Rio Marañon while one still can.