Re-finding our kayaking family

After meeting Marco at Pico Alto (remember here), we followed him up into the mountains to the tiny town of Lunahuana. This little dream town sits on the Cañete river, and this is where Marco’s best friend and brother-in-law, Leo, owns Kayakta-Peru.

Once again, we were welcomed in like family and Leo offered us a place to park the van in his front yard. He has an amazing pad right on the river. Check out our camping spot…

Leo is a bit of a celebrity in Peru. He had an adventure sports TV show for 5 years and is an amazing kayaker. Sol took a liking to him right away! Leo and his wife are also expecting their first baby, due this May!

Sol also really likes Uncle Marco. After telling him that we were teaching her baby sign language, he decided to teach her some of his favorite Peruvian signs.  <Sigh>.

I always said that I never wanted my daughter growing up around river riff-raff. I guess it’s too late for that. Oh well, it feels amazing to be back in the kayaking family. It’s been too long.

Leo and his wife Daniella spend half of the year in Lunahuana running their rafting/kayaking/zip-line company, and the other half in Cusco running another adventure business. They’ve invited us to visit them this spring when the kayak and climbing season hits the Sacred Valley. These are our kind of people. We’ve fallen in love with the whole crew!

Below, Soleil practices her spanish with Daniella.

Stevie whips up breakfast before our daily kayaking session.

Below, the truck loaded up and ready to head to the upper river for a session.

Marco and I have become great buds. We come from the same old-school generation of kayaking and share a similar sense of humor, which makes us a scary combination. He has also invited us down to the Sacred Valley to run rivers and plan some overnight expeditions. This spring is going to be rad.

Below are some shots of the Cañete river that we’ve been paddling the last several days. Nothing too difficult, just some fun big water and a great re-entry back into the sport after a long hiatus.

I got to see Marco and Leo execute a rescue mission when one of the kayakers on our trip got stuck in a hole and dislocated his shoulder. After pulling him to shore, Leo correctly put his should back into the socket.

He was in a hell of a lot of pain, as was to be expected. I’ve seen this scene too many times. Unfortunately we were stuck on the wrong side of the river. The only way for him to hike out of the canyon was from the other side. He couldn’t paddle and there were no bridges.

The only option was for Marco to paddle him across on the bow of his kayak. This is never a fun senario. After dislocating and the resetting a shoulder, the last thing you want to do is hang on to the front of a kayak with one arm while your buddy plows you across a rapid to the other side. In the picture below, you can see the only thing above water is the poor guy’s leg.

He got out though and is recovering fine. Keep the elbows in. Not much else to say.

The only other incident we’ve had is Stevie got a wicked case of food poisoning. We suspect it was the pollo soup from this lunch, as that is the only thing she ate that I didn’t.

Getting food and water sick in this nomad lifestyle is par for the course and you just learn to accept it when it comes. It’s just your turn. One rule we’ve made at Sprinter Life, however, is that when one of us gets sick on the road, we find the nicest, most comfortable hotel we can to wait it out.

Lucky for us that one of Marco’s good friends owned a five star resort just upriver of town. He got us a great deal and we checked in.

The only good thing about food poisoning is it generally only lasts 24 hours. By the next day Stevie was feeling good.

Overall, Lunahuana has turned out to be a hard place to leave. We came for one day of kayaking and have stayed for six!

We have to keep moving though. We only have 10 more days before we are required to leave the country by law, or else they will take our van away. So we’ll head out soon.

We’ll be here for a few more days and will then move south to Chile. Our plan is to hang there for the month of February and then come back up to the Scared Valley to regroup with our new family and catch the good water levels in the Southern Andes. Many great paddling trips are being planned, including an expedition to the Cotahuasi!






  1. Wow- how warm is the water? Looks great. One of these days..

  2. Looks like you guys are back in action. Looks like fun. Be safe, have fun, report often.

  3. Yes! I love it. Back to adventure! I’ve never kayaked before and those go pro shots make it look scary! But scary fun. Hope Stevie is feeling better and glad you got a nice place to recover. Keep posting! I’m itching to get on a plane, train, automobile and explore.

  4. Nonituyas says:

    Stevie, take care of your precious self!

  5. Cyndi C. Morrell says:

    Salud, amor y pesetas, y tiempo para gozarlos!!! Our family is healthy again!!!

  6. Judy Shuman says:

    Awesome! ~ Tku for sharing!

  7. Mick Evans says:

    Another little slice of heaven that most of us up north never knew existed………..and Tree, if you’re “old school”, what does that make me ?? – “pre-school” I guess *laughs*

  8. I would love to get into kayaking “read and run baby” My plan is moving right along, if everything works out I might be seeing you guys for next spring’s season. Old school watermen rule!!
    Hope you are feeling better Stevie……..Carry on!!

  9. Super jealous, Tree…..super jealous.

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