Plenty of White Water for This Team. Photo Credit: Theamazonexpress2012.com

Reported on September 3rd:

The white water team spent the last few days covering some of the hairiest sections of white water on the upper stretches of the Amazon river basin. We spent several nights out under the stars on the banks ofthe river. One night I saw the reflective eyes of what seemed to be a large cat, or Puma, making it’s way towards the campsite. It watched me for awhile before heading back uphill. The boys were in their sacks already, but I felt this new addition was worthy enough to rouse them a bit. Another night we were stirred awake by a large landslide on the opposite side of the river. The sand flies have been biting a bit. I can’t feel them biting, but will look down at my legs and wipe them away now and then. They pull out a good bit of blood and leave lovely welts.

The white water has been challenging, but the team proved once again to rise to the occasion. We’ve hadto line the raft and portage a few of the heavier rapids, but have run most of them. I can’t say enough about the level of skill and maturity these guys have shown in their river skills, team work and overall approach to adversity. Each of these guys seems to excel in one particular aspect and they compliment one another quite nicely.

Right now, we’re back in town from the last 78 mile run. The white water team has to take off due to other commitments and due to the extended timeline it’s taken us to complete the current sections. I’ve learned so much about expedition planning, etc… over the past couple of weeks. The main thing has been to toss out any pre-concieved timelines, as the variables are just too spread out to nail down. I had not counted on illness of team members, the amount of time it takes to get a large number of people to move in one direction (“Didn’t I say to use the restroom BEFORE we left the hotel?”), driving time on roads normally used by goats and llamas in soccer mom minivans, etc..

So, the plan now is for Juanito De Ugarte, white water lead, to gather together another team to finish the final 87 mile push of white water. While he’s doing that the team will go back and fill in the easier sections of the upper reaches of the Amazon that were skipped. As a review, we opted to use the Tigers (Rafa Ortiz, Tino Specht, Juanito De Ugarte and Simon Yerovi )for the most difficult sections of white water, then set them lose for their other commitments. So, we skipped the easier sections that can be completed without such heavy fire power for support.

West Hanson is an accomplished white water paddler and kayak ultra-marathon racer.  He received a National Geographic Expeditions Council Grant to paddle the Amazon from Source to Sea.  Along the way he will collect data on