I have been fond of the Amazon region for a long time. Marcia and I first visited Peru and rafted on a short section of the Urubamba River in 2001. It is a partially navigable feeder river of the Amazon. When we were there the Shining Path was somewhat active and there were armed guards on the streets around our hotel in Lima and at the restaurants we ate in. Our tour director pointed out the head of the Shining Path when he walked down the street in front of the restaurant … same person described by Darcy in her book. He was staring right at me on the other side of the window as he walked by.
In 2003 we traveled into the Amazon jungle region in Ecuador. We spent time traveling the narrow channels within the jungle in a wooden dugout canoe. We were in the area, not terribly far from where Darcy had owned a kayak tour business further upstream along the whitewater region of the river. Our tour was downriver in the flat brown water area. The company we traveled with stopped taking tours there later due to the drug trade, etc.
In 2006 we returned to Peru and cruised on the Amazon River upstream of Iquitos. Hmmm, when I looked into the boat pilots station I noticed a rifle leaning against the wall in the corner. I assumed it was for wildlife. Heat, humidity, bugs and all, it is still a trip that I would like to repeat with a better waterproof camera this time.
Even before traveling in the Amazon region, I liked to read about it, and I still rarely pass up a good book about what others found and did while traveling there. The book Amazon Woman is one of the better ones and if you are interested I encourage you to read it. She kayaked it from source to mouth after we had been on the river, and I was surprised at the state of life along the river, even in the areas we had visited. When she traveled the river in 2013, it was still just as rustic, dangerous, and difficult than when we were there, but then again, we were only in the safer regions.
I had other thoughts as I read this book. Long distance hikes, like along the Appalachian Trail, are very different from her 4000 mile kayak trip down the Amazon. Hikes along the Appalachian Trail are very social where you have many interactions with fellow hikers along the way. Kayaking down the Amazon is a very lonely trip, even with two fellow travelers. Her Amazon trip comes closer to being similar to quarantine for the same length of time. Her loneliness and thoughts are more like some of us have been having as we stayed isolated for the last 10 plus months.