Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Mountain roads and river crossings

So I will bore you all with the ins and outs of another day spent experentially.

Purpose of trip: Visit the Laguna Azul (blue lagoon)

The road was breathtaking, both for the vistas and the actual scary road conditions. Rutted, rocky, narrow, snaking, rockslide prone and oh, so close to the edge of deep drops. Happily the vehicle had 4 wheel drive... which was needed when we started skidding oh, so close on the hairpin turns. And he even slowed down for those ones.

On this wild and wacky journey up and down the mountains on both riversides we passed several road work crews, mostly clearing recent rockfalls, but there was a gent weedwacking at the side of the road (I personally couldn´t see any weeds coming up through the debris), and yet another handwashing the guardrails. Not a common sight at home.

We needed to cross the Huallaga River in order to reach Sauce (sausay), launching point for our little jaunt around the Lake. Now I have previously mentioned the flooding that has happened up river in the Tingo Maria area... massive, never before in memory kind of flooding. So the river has been running high and hard. Evidence of this could be seen in the sediment on the leaves of the trees along the river, and the still flooded lower farmlands at the ferry sight.

Which was actually our second choice ferry, we had to abandon our first crossing point because the landing was still underwater. Well, and a whole lot of red slippery ick.

I digress.

The river was running so fast, with many uprooted banana trees heading downstream. The ferry is a 2 vehicle barge type watercraft, attached by cables to a much larger cable suspended between shores... no small feat considering the distances involved. If you cut the top bit off the Lions Gate and plunked them on either side of the river you would get a good representation.

The cables are needed because there is no way a small craft could cross against that current. No. Way. About 50ft. from shore the river simply took the boat, and the ride continued almost sideways along the cable to the other side. Then came the fun of the vehicles trying to exit the barge upward onto / into very deep muddy riverbank. I have pictures. Much pushing by many strong backs involved. Will try again tomorrow to see if I can access them.

The lake was lovely, not so blue this time of year with all the sediment brought in from the rains, but very warm. A swimming opportunity was presented. Didn´t want to ride home in wet shorts, so a-wading I did go. Bought some trinkets for my girls, and had a nice lunch. Enjoyed seeing a nice variety of tropical birds along the lakeshore. Then back accross the mountains and river. Road conditions had not changed drastically in the few hours we were playing by the water, but the river was actually running faster with the second crossing. Must have rained again up river.

This river, after collecting water from many rivers along it´s lengthy journey, is actually a major tributary to the River MaraƱon, which in turn empties out into the Amazon river, as one of its tributaries. Geography lesson complete.

Other tidbits from the day:

Full on tropical sun day. Hot, hot, hot.
Change in feel of the climate over the mountains... moist to dry & back.
The area is almost completely cleared, but not planted. What a waste.
There is some evidence of cattle grazing, but a lot of the land is just "there".
Saw my first pig.
Found the city Garbage Dump. (not that it was actually "lost")
There were lone "large trees" dotting the horizons. Sad.
Fields of large white boulders, most covered with black lichen. Otherworldly.
Local intercity buses, standing only in the back of a truck... cost about $1.
Fact: Cows and horses will wander through open gaps in fencing, and onto roads.
Puete is spanish for bridge.

I will leave you with an astonishing image I viewed as we came from the river. As we crested the mountain enroute back to Tarapoto, I counted no fewer than 12 mountain ridges in front of me. Stared out green, but fading into sequentially rising, blue-grey paint brush strokes. It was spectacular. It was the mountains that I viewed coming into the city by air, those that looked as if very large hands had swiped deep into the ground.

A picture couldn´t do it justice.

Another red letter day, and a very tired Buenos Noches.

No comments:

Post a Comment