In the morning, Kimberly walked to the Plaza de Armas, which was starting to fill with people for the Corpus Christi celebration. Saints and virgins from parishes throughout Cuzco were set up outside the Cathedral. Our rafting guide Ruben from River Explorers met us at our hotel in Cusco at 9:30am. We stopped at a market for fresh supplies, then drove through the mountains and down steep switchbacks to the Apurimac River. We camped on the sandy beach along the river. The next morning, we set off with the three of us in a 14-foot paddle boat with oars, an oar boat with baggage, and a rescue kayak. We wore 3mm full wetsuits: the water was cold, and the river was often in shade. We paddled through many class II rapids, with only short stretches of flat water between them, and several class III-IV rapids. We camped on a big sandy beach that was covered by neat rows of corn and watermelon plants. Our guides made a big fire, and we roasted marshmallows for dessert. The next day, we scrambled up some rocks to a very cold waterfall. In the afternoon, one of the guides led us around a rapid, through bushes and over boulders, to our camp site. While waiting for the boats, we saw a helmet, a water jug, and the poop bags float by in the river. Eventually the guides made it to the camp and told us the oar boat had been forced under the rapid, then popped back up with a giant rip in the tube. Water got into some of the dry bags; we spread everything out on rocks to dry. The guides said they couldn't fix the baggage raft, so we'd leave it there, run two days worth of rapids to the bridge, and call for help. We walked and scrambled around five unrunnable rapids, and paddled through lots of others. Once we made it to the bridge, the guides set up a tent so we could change into dry clothes, and eventually got a taxi to get us and the stuff back to Cusco.
The celebration of Corpus Christi was just getting starting in the morning.
15 saints and virgins are brought to the Cathedral from other churches in Cusco.
Each of the stains is decorated with elaborate costumes and flowers.
Our hotel was on a one-way cobblestone street.
Inside, the rooms surrounded a garden with lots of flowers.
Our guides stopped at a market to get fresh supplies for our rafting trip.
Potatoes are native to Peru, and lots of varieties were available.
Our guide Ruben buying quinoa for our trip.
We drove up into the mountains surrounding Cusco; this is over 13,000 feet.
The road was gravel and windy.
After many switchbacks, we arrived at the river and unloaded.
We packed our stuff into dry duffels and camped by the river.
In the morning, we loaded up one oar boat with baggage, a paddle boat with oars, and a rescue kayak.
Our guide Ronald paddled his kayak ahead of the paddle raft.
We wore full wetsuits because the water was cold.
The river was surrounded by steep canyon walls.
Waterfalls cascaded down the steep canyon walls.
Our guide said this bridge has looked like this for years.
We floated by many waterfalls.
We stopped for lunch on a sandy beach, and warmed up on the rocks.
Late in the day, the guides jumped out, collected firewood, and loaded up the front of our raft.
We stopped to camp at a sandy beach that was covered in corn and watermelon plants.
View from our tents of watermelon plants, camp kitchen, and the canyon.
Our guides made a fire and hot water for drinks.
We scrambled up the rocks in a side canyon.
We posed quickly in front of the waterfall -- the water was even colder than the main river.
warming up on a sunny rock after the cold waterfall
A waterfall coming in to the main river
We stopped for lunch on a beach with lots of big smooth rocks.
We warmed up in the sun while the guides made lunch.
One guide led us through the bush around an unrunnable rapid.
We scrambled over rocks to calm section after the rapid.
The baggage raft was forced underwater, then popped back up with a big rip in the tube. Several of the dry duffels got water inside; we spread out everything to dry and weighted it with rocks.
Our camp, with clothes and equipment drying everywhere.
looking upriver along steep canyon walls
Our guides said they couldn't repair the baggage raft. We left one guide with most of the stuff, and got ready to run two days worth of rapids, to a bridge where they could call for help.
We scrambled over boulders around the first of five unrunnable rapids.
We watched the guides line the boat through this rapid.
Our guide called this an Indiana Jones bridge.
We walked along a creek around the second unrunnable rapid of the day.
We stopped for lunch on a flat rock above the river.
We made it to the bridge and climbed up to the road.
The guides set up a tent so we could change, and called for a driver to collect us.