Up early and wheels rolling at 730, because I knew it was going to be a long day! It was about 300km on primarily twisty valley road then up to mountain plateaus. Today’s ride had it all!!! Beaches, deserts, rolling hills, valley and mountains. It was like a Peru highlight reel in one day!
I just couldn’t stop admiring the color of the water and for how long the color lasted. All day long I was admiring how beautiful this river was and that it kept this vibrant blue from the foothills to the mountains. As I gained elevation the vibrant color was highlighted by steep canyon walls. The road was narrow and had lots of blind corners. Riding awareness was high, beeping the horn a lot in hopes to alert drivers on the other side of the blind turns. The riding was amazing but I noticed as I gained even a little elevation I felt like I was Scuba Diving. My head cold really hadn’t subsided at all but what can you do. Just push on.
As I did just that I came to 6 or 7 cars on the side of the road and some obvious commotion. My immediate thought was that a car had gone over the bank toward the river. There was enough land between the road and the river so it wouldn’t have made into the water. I stopped the bike, looked and saw nothing. As I looked around I saw maybe 15 or more people 50 yards away on the cliff above the river. Something had the people in a very exited state. I have tools, first aid kit and other things that the average Peruvian may not be carrying so I thought I would see if I could help.
It was a little difficult to reach the people because I had to bushwhack a little then climb down about an 8 foot little cliff. I wasn’t putting myself in any risk by getting to the people. It was clear once I was there that this was a state of emergency and very time sensitive. The men there were shouting over the roar of the river and working frantically on a vertical cliff about 12-15 feet above the water.
One of the road workers that cuts the brush from the side of the road with a machete had fallen into the river. There were many of his co-workers there in their orange uniforms yelling for instructions and trying to use a large try they had cut down to access him. I had expected to look over the cliff and see a man clinging to rocks in the rapids looking desperate for help. That unfortunately was not the case. I saw the man lying lifeless in the river and immediately turned to run for my ratchet straps. I didn’t see that these guys had much for rope around and thought it would help in some way. When I got back with the straps and was tying them together some other guys showed up with some longer proper rope. These guys were doing everything they could and with the language barrier I decided it was best for me to just stay out of the way.
It was now clear to me and several others that it was no longer a rescue mission. One guy said he had been in the water for about 30 min, which might have been a secondary factor. The area that the guy had fallen into the river was all high canyons. He may have never even had a chance to swim because of the fall. I was told he was in his mid-twenties. I hadn’t really thought of seeing death on this trip but if someone had asked me, my answer would have been auto accident for sure. It was a very somber moment seeing tragedy in the very same river I had been admiring all day. Hate to be all cliché but I am sure that this young man never thought for a moment he wouldn’t come home from work today. His job by most accounts wasn’t really dangerous and this was another very “normal” day for him, his family and co-workers. Life is fragile and appreciate everyday!
Be sure those that you care about and care about you know it. Take an extra minute out of the day today to say it, show it, text it; whatever just make it known.
To all my peeps…Thanks for following miss you all!!!