The E-Bike Diaries

Huaraz to La Balsa

/ Peru

Cañón del Pato (Spanish: Duck Canyon) is on the Rio Santa (Santa River) at the north end of the Callejón de Huaylas (Corridor of Huaylas) in north-central Peru. The mostly rocky canyon walls are too steep and arid for cultivation, and in only a few places are the slopes of the imposingly rugged canyon suitable even for grazing domestic animals. The canyon was formed by the river where the north end of the Cordillera Negra range (to the west) converges with the Cordillera Blanca mountain range (to the east). These two Andean ridges run generally parallel for nearly 140 km from south of the city of Huaraz northward to the Cañón; the Cordillera Blanca continues northward for another hundred kilometers or more. The Callejón de Huaylas is the valley between the two cordilleras averaging about 16 km (measured on a map from the crests of the two ridges) in width but in places as much as 25 km in width.
Up from the town of Celendin to the El Indio Pass 3050 m then down to the town of Balsas on the Maranon River 700 meters, then up again to the Barro Negro pass 3580. This took us two days and was one of the most demanding stretches of the whole Peru crossing.
We encounter Josefino on our way down to the Marañón river between Celendin and Balsas where the region of Cajamarca borders with the Amazonas region. Josefino has been chewing coca leaves all his live, much in the same way his ancestors the Chachapoya people used to. The alcali is extracted from the leaves by adding a small amount of lime on a spatula. Cheweing coca leaves have a stimulant effect and helps to overcome fatigue, hunger, and thirst. It is considered particularly effective against altitude sickness.
A forest growing along an affluent of Marañón River. On the left the road that takes form the town of Balsas to Leymebamba both in the Amazonas region
Donkeys used to carry cement to remote areas where high voltage electricity pylons are being built.
The fortress of Kuelap is a walled city associated with the Chachapoyas culture built in 6th century AD. It consists of more than four hundred buildings surrounded by massive exterior stonewalls. The complex is situated on a ridge overlooking the Utcubamba Valley.
Gocta a perennial waterfall with two drops and a measured length of 771 meters. This image shows the second drop of the mighty waterfall that is found in the region of Chachapoyas in the Amazonas department.
Colonies of white Herons can be found near the rice fields between Bagua and Jaen in northern Peru.
Raftsmen unloading the FLYER after the crossing of the Marañón river, between the town of Reposo and Santa Cruz in northern Peru.
Alex Kornhuber happy during the crossing of the Marañón river between the town of Reposo and Santa Cruz in northern Peru.