Rafting the Upper Urubamba River

Trip Start Mar 07, 2013
Trip End Mar 18, 2013

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Upper Urubamba River

We were picked up at 7:00 to raft the upper Uramba river, upstream from Cusco. We were happy to be upstream of Cusco because we had discovered they pump all their raw sewage into the Uramba. They even have signs on all toilets asking you not to flush toilet paper, so it won't harm the environment. The river eventually flows into the Amazon, so in a way they are really just exporting it to Brazil. The water moves so quickly, it must get there in a hurry. On the train to Aquas Calientes, we were passed by a coca cola bottle floating in the river.

It took 1.5 hours to reach our starting point and it was obvious there would be no waiting to see rapids. They spent 30 minutes reviewing safety, paddling commands, and what do do if you fell into the river. The first set of rapids were class IV, so there was no warm up.

Our guide looked like a peruvian Tommy Lee Jones. The rest of our group were 6 young Israeli students. They were in South America for 3 months before their mandatory enlistment in the army began.

The river was awesome and we had a blast. It was tough work and they broke it up with a coffee break and a picnic lunch of pasta salad, avocados, fried chicken, bread, and coca cola.

We passed though beautiful country with lots of mountains and terraced farmland. The locals work the land with limited tools ( no tractors or machines) as has been done here for thousands of years. The villages were all constructed with mud brick that had been painted to keep it waterproof. There were obvious places where the paint had faded and the structures melted away in the rain.

During the drive out it rained hard but it let up a few minutes after we started. As it began to clear, a circular rainbow formed around the sun. By the time we finished the sun was shining bright.

Trey was happy to have an adventure that did not require being over 1000 feet above the river like yesterday. He had a huge smile on his ace the whole time. We need to find a place closer to home to do this again.

Hopefully, Pops is resting and recovering back in Cusco.
We are heading to the rainforest for 3 days tomorrow. We will fly from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado and go by canoe into the national park. The cool weather from the high altitudes will be left behind. It will be in the 90's with high humidity but you can be certain that with the gift of raw sewage from the Cusquenos and the piraņas, I will not be cooling off in the river.
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