The day began with rain, which didn’t seem to matter much since we were just going to get on the river and get wet anyway. It was our last day to raft – at lunchtime we would arrive at the takeout and head back across the mountain roads to Cusco.
The faces in the raft changed some as Limbo and Hot Rod joined our raft and Omey and Caesar headed over to the “Noodle” for the day. We went through some big rapids again today, but with fewer rocks. Both days included Class 3 and 4 rapids and ended up being a lot of fun. We hit the deck a few times, bounced off a few rock walls on the side of the river and overall had a great time.
Too soon the bridge came into sight and we had arrived at the take out. The “road” was up a steep rocky embankment and was a one-car wide gravel path. We set up another line and passed gear and rafts up the hill to load up.
After another great lunch, we piled into the van for the four-hour ride back to Cusco. I hopped into the front seat to avoid any potential mishaps with switchbacks on mountain roads. I also took Dramamine before we left. The driver was much better; not only did he stay awake and drive at a consistent speed, he also turned on the radio and gave me control of the volume. We had some great hits from the States mixed with some songs none of us knew or understood. To top it all off, we had another beautiful ride with breathtaking views of the mountains.
The one sobering piece about all of this was that the homes we drove by and people we saw were part of a third world country. Interspersed with this breathtaking beauty are homes without electricity or clean drinking water. People could be seen plowing their fields with oxen. It’s a hard way of life and a reminder that we should be thankful for everything that we have. However, I also noted that while the people worked hard and didn’t have a lot, they seemed happy, or at least content. I think that unlike us, they do have greater appreciation for what they have and less dependency on material things. Its still hard to see them struggle though.
Both rafts at the end of the last day on the river.
"The Noodle" was always up for an adventure!