Casey Reaches Pacific, Completes Cross-Continent Amazon Journey
A little over a month after reaching the source of the Amazon at Mount Mismi and descending the western side of the Peruvian Andes, on June 25 Casey reached the Pacific Ocean - a full six years and six months after beginning. The month-long journey down the west side was not however insignificant.
The journey mostly followed the Colca river which passes through Colca Canyon, considered the world's deepest by some measures. He passed through numerous tiny pueblos through picturesque, sunny, and dry highlands. Soon he was joined by guide Bredesi Cayllahua, who was to be the last walking guide of his journey.
Brendesi first took him down from the elevations and into the canyon. There they spent time in the "almost tropical warmth" of the village of Canco.
But the warmth was short-lived. They acquired a Quechua guide and mule to get them back up into the cold mountains to an elevation of 16,400ft (5000m) and then onto the village of Viraco. There they camped in what Casey said was the coldest night of his trip. Brendesi said it had been about 5°F (-15°C).
It was all ups and downs though. Casey was pleased to now descend into the warm lower altitudes of the Majes river valley, a place of almost no rainfall but with an oasis-like fertile valley. The village had an ancient Incan history and a plethora of petroglyphs carved into the surrounding stones and rock faces.
Sadly while he was here, he received news that his father had passed away. Both his mother and father have now passed away during his journey.
Holding back tears, Casey had to focus on his soon-to-be cross-continent acheivment. Via roads to the village of Camana, Casey proceeded toward the Pacific Ocean followed by a small band of three, playing traditional instruments, and the La Pueblo Peruvian national newspaper journalist, Adrian Quicano (Casey's story managed to make the front page). Once he reached the waves, Casey was elated to take off his "shabby and worn-out" clothes and jump into the sea.
Casey said there had been a lot of moments when he was less than sure he would make it to the Pacific. It was a time of great emotion and gratitude for him. In his blog he went through a long list of thanking, not only those who helped him complete his journey but to all the people, animals, storms and trees that they did not injure, sicken or kill him.
We may yet hear more from Casey. As mentioned in an earlier blog, Casey has been hoping to also follow the Mantaro Amazon tributary, "the most distant source of interrupted flow" of the Amazon. He encountered the tributary last year where it met the Ene and Apurimac tributaries. He is currently seeking funding for this.