Guide Cho Catches Malaria
Last we heard from Casey in February, he and his guide Gadiel Sanchez (Cho) had finally ventured on from Pucallpa in an attempt to get to Atalaya. However, that attempt was thwarted by police due to Covid restrictions of which they were unaware. Able to launch again in early March they were off to high adventure.
They passed through several Shipibo indigenous and mixed-tribe villages, which both he and Cho agreed seemed like a bygone Wild West era. People were on horseback with cowboy hats and all of the buildings lining the streets were made of wood.
Casey swam across the Rio Patchtia and the Amazon (Ucayali tributary) itself and then they hiked away from the Amazon and deep into the jungle. The journey this time had been particularly rainy and not without its accompanying relentless mosquitoes. Two weeks deep into this jungle they became aware of their next faraway goal, the first Ashaninka indigenous village near the Rio Sheshea.
But as luck would have it, Cho started feeling weak and lethargic. He had a fever which was especially pronounced in the evening. Though the village was far, they were hoping they would be able to do a malaria test there. Not only was there still a lot to go through, Casey was worried the people in this remote village might be hostile to outsiders.
It took them eight more days, walking through primary, thick jungle with a very weak Cho before they found a straight track leading to the village. This track however had patches of thick, knee-deep mud, sapping Cho's precious energy.
Finally, they made it to the village and fortunately the people were friendly. Unfortunately, the test showed that Cho did indeed come down with Malaria. Cho was going to need to get back to his home in Pucallpa. The journey ahead was too dangerous for Casey to do without a guide so it was only appropriate that he accompany Cho back. The journey would have to be marked up to this village and Casey would have to come back here to restart it.
The journey back to Pucallpa looked like it was going to take days on the Ucayali when the main passenger boat failed to show up. However, to their pleasant surprise, they spotted a speed boat that delivered them back to Pucallpa in just seven hours.
Since arriving, Casey has been on the lookout for an Ashaninka guide while he is also trying to figure out how best economically to return to where he left off. Cho is on the mend but still not nearly well enough to join him.
Casey has been studying topographic maps and Google Earth and has estimated that once he can finally make it to Atalaya, he will no longer need to bushwhack through difficult virgin jungle. There appear to be a lot more foot trails and roads and it may be that he had already made it past the Amazon basin.