When the trustees of the Transglobe Expedition Trust heard of Ed Stafford’s planned stab at walking the length of the Amazon, they asked some authorities on the Amazon for their view. The reply came back – “impossible”.
But in April 2008, the British ex-soldier set off on a Jungle Marathon to become the first man ever to walk the Amazon’s whole length. He started on the Pacific coast of Peru and crossed the Andes mountain range to find the official source of the river.
His successful 859-day trek took him through parts of Colombia and right across Brazil — involving savage animals, machete-armed locals and the reality of coping with injuries, fierce weather and his own fear.
You can read more about Stafford’s exploits in his narrative, Walking the Amazon, available in paperback August 2012. Here’s an excerpt recounting a particularly dangerous situation that he and his guide, Cho, found themselves in during the journey.
“After receiving a very direct warning over the HF radio that we would be killed if we decided to continue our journey, we reach the downriver end of the shingle island in the middle of the Amazon. I drop my inflated pack raft into the shallow brown waters and roll my heavy backpack off my stiff, grimy back and into the rubber boat. `Mira, Ed, atras. Look, Ed, behind you,’ says Cho calmly. As I turn I see five dugout canoes coming towards us fast, full of indigenous Indians. Many of the Indians are standing up in the narrow boats; bows drawn, arrows trained on us…”
How did Stafford react?
“My T-shirt clings to my body and sweat pours down my temples. My body is still but my heart is quickening, adrenaline pours into my brain allowing me to process the imminent danger rapidly. My perception of time slows down.”
That’s enough for us to want to keep reading.